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House votes to restore abortion rights, but Senate GOP will block an abortion travel rights bill

J. Scott Applewhite

Connecticut’s two Democratic U.S. senators have vowed to continue to push for a vote on a bill to protect a person’s right to cross state lines for an abortion.

Despite Republican senators blocking the bill on Thursday, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy made the pledge to local abortion providers and activists.

GOP senators need to be held accountable by voters in November, said Blumenthal. “We will push for this measure to receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate with every single member of the Senate held accountable for their vote.”

State laws that restrict people from seeking abortions across state lines need to be overridden by federal law, said Murphy. “Congress must stand up for the constitutional right to travel. And make sure that interstate travel is still legal and possible and practical.”

Senate Republicans appear divided over whether women should retain the right to travel to get abortions. Some in the party argue that travel can’t or shouldn’t be restricted, although there was limited GOP interest in backing the Democratic bill.

The Democratic bill makes it illegal for states to limit travel for abortion services. It empowers the U.S. Attorney General and affected individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a person’s right to cross state lines to receive reproductive care.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.