Lawmakers in Congress have reintroduced a bill they say would ensure access to safe abortions across the country. The move comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a Mississippi law that's viewed as a major threat to its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.
The Women's Health Protection Act would allow for abortions in every state to happen without restrictions that aren't medically necessary. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - D-Wis. - is leading efforts to gather support for the bill in the upper-chamber.
She said it's a safeguard against politicians who are standing between women and their doctors.
"That is why we must pass our legislation, to protect the provider-patient relationship," said Baldwin. "To protect health-care professionals that provide care, and protect the freedom and right of women to access this care."
In a recent survey from Hart Research Associates, 68% of respondents said they believe the constitutional right to abortion should be protected.
No GOP lawmakers are co-sponsors of the bill. Anti-abortion groups have criticized the plan, describing it as dangerous.
From 2007 to 2016, pregnancy-related deaths were two to three times more prevalent among Black women in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Danielle Hurd-Wilson, interim deputy director of field and programs for the group Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, asserted access to reproductive care also is an issue of racial and economic justice.
"Young people - and Black, Indigenous, people of color - should be able to get abortion care free from unnecessary restrictions," said Hurd-Wilson, "such as mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods and others that shame, stigmatize and deny us timely, confidential abortion care."
In the last decade, almost 500 state laws restricting abortion have passed in legislatures around the country.
While it hasn't been enforced, Wisconsin does have a nearly 200-year-old law that prohibits doctors from performing abortions. At the state level, there have been calls to repeal that ban in light of the Supreme Court case.