November 01, 2022

New Report from Duckworth, Warren, Hirono, Smith: Healthcare Providers Speak Out on Devastating Harm and Mortal Threats to Women Posed by State Abortion Bans


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tina Smith (D-MN) in releasing a new report: Post-Roe Abortion Bans Threaten Women’s Lives: Healthcare Providers Speak Out on the Devastating Harm Posed by Abortion Bans and Restrictions. The 23-page report—based on information provided by leading healthcare providers—reveals the devastating consequences of state abortion bans and restrictions enacted by right-wing legislatures and the impacts of Senate Republicans’ extreme proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks. The report details the effects of these radical laws on women’s access to healthcare as described by healthcare organizations representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists and hospitals.

“This report lays bare the very real, barbaric consequences of Republicans’ state-by-state efforts to control women and strip them of their basic rights to decide what happens to their own bodies,” said Duckworth. “Let’s be perfectly clear: bans on abortion don’t actually stop abortion from happening. It just means women will seek out more dangerous, less safe paths to get the care they need when they need it. No one should have to cross state lines to be treated as an equal citizen—and that’s why Democrats will never let up in our work to enshrine full reproductive rights into law.”

“In the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, this report reveals that the abortion bans and extreme restrictions imposed by Republican politicians have devastating health consequences and threaten women’s lives,” said Warren. “According to leading health care organizations representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and hospitals, the health consequences of criminalizing abortion are catastrophic for women – and the Republicans’ proposed national abortion ban would only exacerbate this crisis.”

“This report details the devastating consequences of state-level abortion bans and the potential impact of the GOP’s push to outlaw abortion nationwide,” said Hirono. “The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has sowed chaos and confusion even in states like Hawaii where abortion remains legal, endangering the health and safety of millions and disproportionately impacting communities of color. As MAGA Republicans work to advance a national abortion ban, we’ll continue fighting to defend reproductive freedom and codify abortion access nationwide.”

“This report confirms exactly what I feared: Republicans’ crusade against women’s reproductive freedoms has created national chaos that is a mortal threat to women’s health,” said Smith. “I am determined to push back against these dangerous Republican efforts, and I will not stop organizing and fighting until women’s freedoms can be exercised equally in all parts of this country.”

The key findings of the report include:

  • State-imposed restrictions on abortion care affect all women seeking reproductive healthcare, even in states where abortion remains legal.
  • State abortion bans have created mortal threats to women suffering from miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and other complications.
  • State-imposed restrictions on abortion care threaten healthcare providers and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
  • State-imposed restrictions on abortion care disproportionately impact communities of color, rural communities and low-income communities.
  • State-imposed restrictions on abortion care result in broader restrictions on medical care and medical education.
  • Republicans’ proposed national abortion ban would have devastating impacts on women’s health and the entire healthcare system.

Duckworth has made protecting and expanding access to essential reproductive healthcare a top priority. Recently, she joined Hirono, Warren and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to applaud the Biden Administration’s landmark decision to allow the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to provide abortion care to Veterans and their eligible dependents to protect the health and life of the woman and in cases of rape or incest. 

In August, she helped introduce the Reproductive Healthcare Accessibility Act to help ensure women with disabilities—who face discrimination and extra barriers when seeking care—can access reproductive services and get the informed care they need to have control over their own reproductive lives. In July, she helped introduced the Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would codify the fundamental and constitutional right to contraception, just days after writing to President Biden and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging them to immediately declare national and public health emergencies over Americans’ access to reproductive care.

In May, she visited Hope Clinic in Granite City, IL, and met with Director Erin King and staff to share her support for ensuring Americans everywhere can access safe and necessary healthcare. Weeks later, she helped introduce a resolution opposing the criminalization of the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare, including abortion, gender-affirming care and contraceptive care. The resolution also disapproves of the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. Also in May, she voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would help protect women’s constitutional right to choose, which was ultimately blocked by Senate Republicans. In a speech on the Senate floor, she shared her support of Americans’ reproductive rights and urged her colleagues to pass the WHPA. Additionally, Duckworth is the lead sponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Healthcare (EACH) Act, which would end the Hyde Amendment and lift unjust abortion coverage restrictions for those who depend on Medicaid and other government-sponsored plans.