Text: S.1173 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (04/19/2007)

[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1173 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

  1st Session
                                S. 1173

To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to 
     bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.



                             April 19, 2007

 Mrs. Boxer (for herself, Mrs. Murray, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. 
 Menendez, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. 
 Feinstein, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Baucus, and Ms. Cantwell) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                             the Judiciary


                                 A BILL

To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to 
     bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Freedom of Choice Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The United States was founded on core principles, such 
        as liberty, personal privacy, and equality, which ensure that 
        individuals are free to make their most intimate decisions 
        without governmental interference and discrimination.
            (2) One of the most private and difficult decisions an 
        individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or 
        terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are 
        best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and 
        health care providers.
            (3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and 
        in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 
        U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to 
        privacy protected by the Constitution encompasses the right of 
        every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious 
        considerations involved in deciding whether to begin, prevent, 
        continue, or terminate a pregnancy.
            (4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balances the rights 
        of women to make important reproductive decisions with the 
        State's interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe 
        v. Bolton, the right to privacy protects a woman's decision to 
        choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability, 
        with the State permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability 
        except when necessary to protect a woman's life or health.
            (5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of 
        women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision 
        in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to 
        resort to illegal abortions, despite the risk of unsanitary 
        conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, 
        disfiguration, and death. Before Roe, it is estimated that 
        thousands of women died annually in the United States as a 
        result of illegal abortions.
            (6) In countries in which abortion remains illegal, the 
        risk of maternal mortality is high. According to the World 
        Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-
        related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are 
        associated with unsafe abortions.
            (7) The Roe v. Wade decision also expanded the 
        opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 
        1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the 
        Supreme Court observed that, ``[t]he ability of women to 
        participate equally in the economic and social life of the 
        Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their 
        reproductive lives.''.
            (8) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision has stood for more 
        than 34 years, there are increasing threats to reproductive 
        health and freedom emerging from all branches and levels of 
        government. In 2006, South Dakota became the first State in 
        more than 15 years to enact a ban on abortion in nearly all 
        circumstances. Supporters of this ban have admitted it is an 
        attempt to directly challenge Roe in the courts. Other States 
        are considering similar bans.
            (9) Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently 
        upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, 
        which has no exception to protect a woman's health. The 
        majority decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (05-380, slip op. 
        April 18, 2007) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation 
        of America fails to protect a woman's health, a core tenet of 
        Roe v. Wade. Dissenting in that case, Justice Ginsburg called 
        the majority's opinion ``alarming'', and stated that, ``[f]or 
        the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with 
        no exception safeguarding a woman's health''. Further, she 
        said, the Federal ban ``and the Court's defense of it cannot be 
        understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a 
        right declared again and again by this Court''.
            (10) Legal and practical barriers to the full range of 
        reproductive services endanger women's health and lives. 
        Incremental restrictions on the right to choose imposed by 
        Congress and State legislatures have made access to 
        reproductive care extremely difficult, if not impossible, for 
        many women across the country. Currently, 87 percent of the 
        counties in the United States have no abortion provider.
            (11) While abortion should remain safe and legal, women 
        should also have more meaningful access to family planning 
        services that prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing 
        the need for abortion.
            (12) To guarantee the protections of Roe v. Wade, Federal 
        legislation is necessary.
            (13) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights 
        without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where 
        authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the 
        Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory 
        rights in areas of legitimate national concern.
            (14) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of 
        article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th 
        amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to 
        facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State 
        interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal 
        protection of the laws.
            (15) Federal protection of a woman's right to choose to 
        prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative 
        power of Congress, in part, because--
                    (A) many women cross State lines to obtain 
                abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent 
                a constitutional right or Federal protection;
                    (B) reproductive health clinics are commercial 
                actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical 
                equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-
                State suppliers; and
                    (C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, 
                nurses, and other personnel who travel across State 
                lines in order to provide reproductive health services 
                to patients.


    In this Act:
            (1) Government.--The term ``government'' includes a branch, 
        department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other 
        individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a 
        State, or a subdivision of a State.
            (2) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the States, 
        the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and 
        each territory or possession of the United States.
            (3) Viability.--The term ``viability'' means that stage of 
        pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending 
        physician based on the particular medical facts of the case 
        before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the 
        sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.


    (a) Statement of Policy.--It is the policy of the United States 
that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, 
to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a 
pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or 
health of the woman.
    (b) Prohibition of Interference.--A government may not--
            (1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
                    (A) to bear a child;
                    (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
                    (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where 
                termination is necessary to protect the life or health 
                of the woman; or
            (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set 
        forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of 
        benefits, facilities, services, or information.
    (c) Civil Action.--An individual aggrieved by a violation of this 
section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a 
government) in a civil action.


    If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision 
to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the 
remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons 
or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to 
be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.


    This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, 
ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, 
practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, 
or after the date of enactment of this Act.

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