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Elizabeth Warren calls on Congress to pass law enshrining Roe v. Wade abortion rights

Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared in Virginia.
Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared in Virginia. Alex Wong/Getty Images/Getty Images

Responding to the flurry of antiabortion bills passing state legislatures, Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called on Congress to pass a law guaranteeing abortion access outlined in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Warren warned in a Medium post that Republicans looked to be succeeding in their decades-long effort to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling.

“These extremist Republican lawmakers know what the law is — but they don’t care. They want to turn back the clock, outlaw abortion, and deny women access to reproductive health care. And they are hoping the Supreme Court will back their radical play,” Warren said. “I’ll be blunt: It just might work.”

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Warren also threw her support behind an existing bill that would block so-called TRAP laws, which place a host of restrictions on abortion services in an effort to limit access.

Candidates in the large Democratic presidential primary field have been outspoken in support of abortion rights as states have passed antiabortion measures, with the rhetoric ramping up after Alabama enacted a strict new law this week.

Warren did not say whether she would introduce her proposal as legislation to overrule state abortion limits. Senator Cory Booker, another Democratic candidate for president, recently pledged to sign legislation enshrining the access to abortion required under Roe v. Wade if he wins the White House .

Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law a bill that bans abortion in that state at any stage of pregnancy. There are no exceptions for rape and incest, only for when a pregnancy creates a serious health risk for the mother. Under the law, doctors could be charged with a felony for performing the procedure and face decades in prison.

The Alabama law comes just weeks after Georgia passed a so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill, which bans abortion as early as five or six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.

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Antiabortion advocates see an opening for implementing new restrictions in the wake of the confirmations of conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Activists hope challenges to abortion laws will reach the Supreme Court, where Roe v. Wade could be overturned or weakened.

“When I was growing up, long before Roe, people still got abortions. Some were lucky. Others weren’t,” Warren wrote Friday. “They all went through hell.”


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.