June 23, 2023

One Year After Dobbs: In New Report from Senator Warren, Health Care Providers Reveal How Republican Efforts to Limit Abortion Care Threaten Women’s Health

“Unless efforts by Republican politicians and rogue judges seeking to ban abortion nationwide are defeated, the threats to health care providers and women’s health will continue.” “Abortion restrictions - and the confusion and misinformation they’ve spawned - have pushed access to essential care farther and farther out of reach for millions of Americans.”

Report: One Year Without Roe: Health Care Providers Speak Out on Criminalized Care and Compounding Confusion (PDF)

Washington, D.C. –Nearly one year after the Supreme Court ruled to ignore 50 years of precedent and overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping away the constitutional right to abortion, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) released a new report: One Year Without Roe: Health Care Providers Speak Out on Criminalized Care and Compounding Confusion. The 14-page report – based on testimony received from leading health care providers – reveals the direct, immediate threats to women’s reproductive health and concludes that “the landscape of abortion access in the U.S. is bleak and growing bleaker.”

“Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and medical leaders are sounding the alarm that women in America have been suffering through a health care crisis ever since the far-right Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “This Senate report reveals that Republican lawmakers’ efforts to criminalize abortion, spread misinformation, and take away reproductive freedom are extremely dangerous.”

“This report clearly shows that one year after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, women in America are facing a health care crisis,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Access to safe and legal abortions have been severely restricted in many states across the country, causing chaos and confusion in our health care system that threatens the lives and health of women.”

“This report lays bare the reality of a post-Dobbs America where the extreme, barbaric actions by Republicans are stripping women—on a state-by-state basis—of their rights to basic healthcare,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “We know that overturning Roe v. Wade wasn’t the far-right’s endgame—Republicans are continuing to ban access to abortion and limit reproductive freedom for women in every state. Democrats will not stop working to restore and enshrine the right to choose into federal law.”

The key findings of the report include:

One Year after Dobbs, Abortion Access Has Been Nearly Eliminated in Large Portions of the Nation – Even in States Previously Considered Havens for Care.

  • Since June 2022, 19 states have imposed extreme laws to ban or severely restrict abortion, limiting access not only to abortion care, but also to pregnancy care, miscarriage care, and more.’
  • As a result of abortion bans enacted this year, the closest abortion provider for patients in some parts of the country is over 800 miles away.

Legal Attacks on Abortion, including Medication Abortion, Breed Widespread Confusion Among Patients and Providers and Sow Misinformation.

  • Overly broad and sloppily drafted state laws to ban or severely restrict abortion have led to chaos and confusion for both patients and providers.
  • Providers have been left “in a position where they are unable to efficiently provide needed health care services to their patients.”

Anti-Abortion Activists are Threatening to Upend the Entire Drug Regulatory System to Remove Mifepristone from the Market

  • Republican state legislatures in 28 states – including 15 states where abortion is legal – have imposed bans or restrictions that prevent Americans from accessing medication abortion.
  • There is no question: removing mifepristone from the market entirely is an additional step towards a national abortion ban.

Threats of Criminalization and Violence Hurt Health Care Workers and Risk Women’s Ability to Obtain Care.

  • Health care providers are facing increased threats of prosecution and workplace violence, interfering with their ability to meet their medical and ethical duties to put patient health and well-being first.
  • Coupled with the misinformation and confusion surrounding medication abortion, ongoing threats of violence and steep criminal and civil penalties are significantly impeding providers’ ability to care for their patients. 

As the right to abortion and essential reproductive health care has come under attack from extremist Republicans and radical judges, Senator Warren has led work to protect reproductive freedom:

  • On May 30, 2023, Senators Warren, Duckworth (D-Ill.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Smith (D-Minn.) sent letters to five leading health care organizations representing physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and hospitals – the American Medical Association, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Nurses United, the American Pharmacists Association, and the American Hospital Association – asking for updates since the organizations’ responses to the senators’ questions about threats to abortion sent in August and September
  • On April 7, 2023, Senator Warren released a statement on the decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to stay the FDA’s decades-old approval of mifepristone.
  • On March 8, 2023, Senators Warren, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Hirono Introduced the Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act, legislation that would expand protections for Americans’ personal health data by preventing companies from profiting off of personally identifiable health data for advertising purposes, allow consumers greater access to and ownership over their personal health information, restrict companies’ ability to collect or use information about personal health without user consent, and ban data brokers from selling location data.
  • On March 8, 2023, Senators Warren, Mazie Hirono, along with Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer, expressing concern regarding recent reports that the company would not dispense medication abortion in 21 states where Republican Attorneys General have threatened the company.
  • On February 13, 2023, Senator Warren and eleven other senators sent a letter to President Biden urging his administration to take new steps to protect reproductive freedom amid divided control of Congress and increasing efforts to restrict access to abortion. 
  • On November 18, 2022, Senator Warren led eight of her colleagues in a letter encouraging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to defend America's reproductive rights, and to consider steps to protect and expand access to medication abortion. 
  • On November 1, 2022, Senator Warren, Duckworth, Hirono, and Smith released a report – based on information provided by leading health care providers – revealing 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.
  • On August 4, 2022, Senator Warren, Hirono, and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging concrete actions the Department can take to help meet President Biden’s goal of protecting and expanding access to medication abortion.
  • On July 29, 2022, Senators Warren and Hirono led 23 of their colleagues in a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), calling on the VA to take immediate administrative action to offer abortions and all abortion-related services to veterans and eligible dependents
  • On July 21, 2022, Senators Warren and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent letters to Bark Technologies, Gaggle.net, GoGuardian, and Securly Inc., raising concerns that the software these companies use to monitor students’ online activity could be used to criminalize or punish students who are seeking information about abortion services and reproductive health care.
  • On July 19, 2022, Senators Warren, Smith, and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) led a group of their Democratic colleagues in introducing the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act to provide robust mandatory funding for the Title X Family Planning Program.
  • On July 14, 2022, Senators Warren, Cory Booker (D-N.J), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and over a dozen Senate Democrats wrote 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.
  • On July 11, 2022, Senators Warren and Klobuchar sent letters to Facebook and Instagram, calling on them to address their reported censorship of posts related to abortion services, following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
  • On July 7, 2022, Senator Warren announced two key data brokers’ commitments to permanently stop selling the location data of people seeking abortion services.
  • On June 25, 2022, following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Senators Warren and Smith wrote an op-ed in the New York Times laying out the next steps in the fight to protect the right to an abortion, including calling for the declaration of a public health emergency.
  • On June 23, 2022, Senators Warren and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act, legislation that would crack down on false advertising that crisis pregnancy centers employ to dissuade patients from getting the reproductive care they need, including abortion care. The Senators reintroduced the legislation in April 2023. 
  • On June 15, 2022, Senator Warren introduced the Health and Location Data Protection Act, legislation that bans data brokers from selling some of the most sensitive data available about everyday Americans: their health and location data. 
  • On June 7, 2022, Senators Warren and Murray led 23 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to President Biden urging him to immediately issue an executive order directing the federal government to develop a national plan to defend Americans’ fundamental reproductive rights, including their right to an abortion.
  • On May 17, 2022, Senator Warren led thirteen of her Senate colleagues in letters to two data brokers demanding answers regarding their collection and sale of the cellphone-based location data of people who visit abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood. 
  • On May 10, 2022, Senator Warren delivered a speech on the floor of the United States Senate on the need to protect the constitutional right to an abortion, pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, and fight back against Republican extremism. 
  • On May 9, 2022, Senator Warren wrote an op-ed in Marie Claire about the need to enshrine the right to an abortion in federal law. 
  • On May 3, 2022, when the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, Senator Warren spoke on the steps of the Supreme Court twice to activists, protestors, and the nation about the need to protect abortion rights.