Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Wednesday unveiled a plan to protect reproductive rights on the first day of his prospective administration as he seeks the 2020 Democratic nomination.
The plan, which comes as a series of draconian anti-abortion laws pass in states like Alabama, includes a number of planned executive actions like establishing a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom.
The plan builds upon Booker's prior pledges to only appoint judges that uphold the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision and to codify it with federal legislation. But the senator’s emphasis on executive action indicates that a prospective Booker administration would seek to act immediately.
Booker envisions an Office of Reproductive Freedom as being charged with coordinating, safeguarding, and advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care, “including addressing all barriers to full reproductive freedom, including access to transportation, paid leave, maternal health care, and education.” The goal would be to empower designated officials to survey conditions across all of government—at the federal and state levels—as the Booker team noted that a number of agencies play a role in advancing women’s reproductive rights.
“Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are mounting a coordinated attack on abortion access and reproductive rights,” Booker said in a statement. “A coordinated attack requires a coordinated response. That’s why on day one of my presidency, I will immediately and decisively take executive action to respond to these relentless efforts to erode Americans’ rights to control their own bodies. I will also pursue a legislative response, including legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law."
Booker, who has previously pledged to codify Roe on the federal level, also said that he wants to end the “domestic gag rule,” which prevents health-care providers who provide or refer patients for abortions from receiving Title X funding. The senator also proposes repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, and excluding it from his first presidential budget.
Among other executive actions, Booker also wants to reinstate the United States' funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which focuses on global reproductive health had been halted early on in the Trump administration, as well as rescind a Trump policy barring U.S. aid to organizations abroad that offer information about abortions or perform them.
At least three other 2020 competitors have said they also would seek to have Congress codify abortion rights. Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became the first candidate to promise to only appoint judges who would uphold the Roe ruling, guarantee access to abortions by requiring private insurance companies to cover them, and repeal the Hyde Amendment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled a similar plan that also included a call for a ban on state-targeted regulations on abortion providers (TRAP) laws with the passage of a pre-existing Women's Health Protection Act.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, meanwhile, published a plan of his own Tuesday evening during a CNN town hall, vowing to protect Roe and expand insurance coverage for reproductive health care.