U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Senators Baldwin, Murray Introduce Legislation to Create Reproductive Health Travel Fund

Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act would help women who lack access to abortion care in states like Wisconsin offset the cost of travel-related expenses to get the care they need

By - Jun 22nd, 2023 09:26 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act, legislation to provide women the support they need to access reproductive health services by providing grants to organizations, including abortion funds, to offset the cost of travel-related expenses.

“Right now, in states across the country, millions of Americans are unable to make their own health care decisions,” said Senator Baldwin. “Women in states like Wisconsin are being forced to travel out of state just to see a doctor for critical health care, including abortion care. And for too many, the cost of travel, child care, overnight housing, and time away from work puts safe, comprehensive reproductive care totally out of reach. By reducing the costs of travel for people seeking reproductive care, more Americans will have the freedom to make the health care decisions that are best for their family, health, and future.”

“In overturning Roe and passing one extreme state abortion ban after the next, Republicans have unleashed a full-fledged health care crisis that is jeopardizing women’s health and forcing them to stay pregnant against their will. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Baldwin to help ease the financial burden on vulnerable women who are being forced to travel across state lines to access the health care they need,” said Senator Murray. “Every woman deserves to have control over her own body and be able to get the care she needs—no matter what state she lives in—and that’s what this bill will help deliver.”

The Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act would set up a grant program, authorized at $350 million per year for FY24 through FY28, to help ease the financial burden associated with traveling long distances to access safe and legal reproductive health care. Specifically, the bill would allow the Treasury Secretary to award grants to eligible entities to pay for travel-related expenses and logistical support for individuals accessing abortion services. Funds, made available through a competitive grant, could be used for round trip travel, lodging, meals, childcare, translation services, doula care, patient education and information services, and lost wages.

Eligible entities include non-profits or community-based organizations that assist individuals seeking abortions. Grants would be prioritized for entities that serve people who live in a jurisdiction that has banned or severely restricted access to abortion, serve those who travel to a jurisdiction to access abortion care, or have a program in operation that helps patients access abortion services.

In addition to Senators Baldwin and Murray, the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Congresswomen Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07), and Cori Bush (D-MO-01) led the introduction of the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act in the House.

The Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act is supported by the National Partnership for Women & Families, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Council of Jewish Women, National Network of Abortion Funds, Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Chicago Abortion Fund, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Janes Due Process.

“Abortion funds play a critical role in connecting patients like mine with the resources they need to get abortions,” said Dr. Kristin Lyerly, Board Certified OB/GYN from Green Bay. “As a physician who provides comprehensive care in obstetrics and gynecology including abortion, I’m grateful to Senator Tammy Baldwin for her leadership in helping to break down the barriers that exist for patients in abortion-restricted states and for building on the existing infrastructure of support that abortion funds provide. Until we can restore legal access to abortion in all 50 states, innovative legislation like the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act will touch countless people in need of abortion care.”

“The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision exacerbated an existing abortion access crisis across the country, leaving many people unable to access care unless they travel hundreds of miles to a state where abortion is legal,” said Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The costs are almost always unexpected—and steep. This legislation will help mitigate this crisis by providing essential resources to those who must travel to access abortion care. We commend Sens. Baldwin and Murray, and Reps. Strickland, Fletcher and Bush, for working to meet the urgent needs of pregnant people in a post-Roe world, while we work to expand equitable abortion access to all Americans.”

A one-pager on the Reproductive Health Travel Fund Act is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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