Muriel E. Bowser*:
Muriel will continue to stand with Planned Parenthood to protect our DC values, as she has over her entire career.
"We have seen before what happens when Congress intervenes in our ability to provide health care. That tells us what we already know — the government shouldn’t be in the business of blocking access to health care. We cannot leave our children, our girls, a less free society than the one we were born into. We cannot build a society where our girls look to other, freer nations, and wonder why they can’t have the same rights. I also want to state this clearly — that Washington, D.C., is a pro-choice city. The Supreme Court can't change that. Women still have access to care in D.C. We are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the hundreds of millions of Americans who share this value and share it deeply and are willing to fight for it and willing to protect it." - Muriel Bowser
Thank you for considering our campaign to participate in this questionnaire. Trayon White supports the rights of women to make their own decisions about their health including reproductive health. Trayon White wholeheartedly agrees that DCs maternal mortality crisis must be addressed and supports expanding birthing facilities east of the river. Pertaining to the questions that were left blank, as a campaign we felt the need to educate ourselves more deeply about the topics in those questions, therefore we opted to not answer, neither yes or no. We as a campaign and Trayon White appreciate the long established work by Planned Parenthood, and we thank you for this opportunity.
DC Council Chair:
I am supportive or improved access to general, non-abortion relation healthcare, but not subsidized with public money.
I am especially concerned about the longstanding Congressional budget rider that prohibits the District government from offering any financial support for low income residents at clinics such as Planned Parenthood. With the horrible possibility that the Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, it is more critical than ever that the rider be removed. Pro-choice jurisdictions like DC will play a critical role in protecting and supporting women's reproductive freedoms in our nation, and we should be free to do so.
Abortion is Healthcare, and I’ve Had an Abortion
This post is personal. I’m still reeling from the leaked draft Supreme Court decision indicating the Court will overturn Roe v. Wade — ending federal protection for abortion. Abortion is healthcare, and we must continually work to expand and protect abortion rights.
I’ve had an abortion. I also have three children, and each pregnancy and birth was a reminder of the intense physical and health impacts. All have reaffirmed to me how we fail to support people who need abortion care or have children. My job and family support proved crucial to having stability and being able to make my appointments when I was pregnant. The quality of health care I received was essential to address my anemia and other health conditions. I was only able to travel to get my abortion with the support of my family. It is all a constant reminder of how inequities run deep in our system and how we must do so much more to support and center people who do not have the same resources I have had.
What’s at Stake
Let’s start with a few basic points.
Abortion. The word is abortion, and abortion is healthcare. Too often we see politicians talk about reproductive rights and fail to mention the word abortion. Instead, they refer to “public health,” “access,” “choice,” and “reproductive health care.” We need full-throated support for abortion rights, and failure to say the word abortion signals moral and positional wiggle room and adds stigma.
I have had an abortion, and I choose to speak publicly about my abortion to reduce stigma and shame. I was afraid to share my story, and I faced the expected shaming on social media from those who oppose abortion rights. But, people have also thanked me and told me that they feel safer knowing that people are speaking publicly about their abortions.
I honor the experiences of other women (including women in public service) who have shared their stories, including Democratic representatives Cori Bush (Missouri), Pramila Jayapal (Washington), and Barbara Lee (California).
DC’s lack of statehood puts us at increased risk. Congressional threats to abortion rights are not new. Congress has prohibited DC from using local funds to pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients since 1989 (for all but two years). The “Dornan Amendment” specifically limits lower-income DC residents from full access to abortions, including forcing these residents to fundraise for their abortions. Abortion rights have been been relegated to a secondary issue in our fight for statehood and local control, and our leaders who regularly advocate for local control on marijuana legalization are content with a status quo on abortion that disproportionately harms low-income people of color.
Republicans in Congress have and will continue to seek to limit abortion rights in DC. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) has led failed efforts to strike down a 2014 DC law protecting people from employment discrimination based on reproductive health decisions like having an abortion. And a republican Representative introduced a failed bill that sought to ban abortion after 20 weeks in DC. Vigilance and persistence are essential to not just fend off these challenges, but to work meaningfully across jurisdictions to expand and protect abortion rights.
Abortion rights are intimately tied to how we view women and birthing people, including everything from maternal care to paid leave to childcare to living wages. We know that DC has some of the worst maternal outcomes, with Black people making up 90% of birth-related deaths. We also know that Black women and families face the largest disparities in terms of access to childcare and good-paying jobs.
I often talk about how every map of DC is the same, whether we are talking about maternal healthcare, access to healthy food, housing stability, high-quality education, or community safety, and that this map is the result of chronic disinvestment in communities east of the Anacostia River. Here, Congress is compounding existing disparities, making it harder for lower-income DC residents to access abortion services.
These deeply-rooted disparities are important to recognize and grapple with as we work to expand and protect rights locally. That’s part of why I continually talk about meeting people’s basic needs as rights and meaningfully using our budget, laws, and oversight to correct for longstanding disparities.
DC Council Ward 1
This month our nation found itself in yet another major battle over abortion rights. For nearly five decades, women’s reproductive rights have been constitutionally-protected and secured from legislative harassment and persecution. A leaked draft ruling, potentially overturning Roe v. Wade, would threaten a woman’s ability to choose and determine the course of her own life and the life of her family. Removing the right to choose, a private matter, will have a severe impact on women across the nation. I believe abortion should be safe, legal, and available, as do a clear majority of Americans. For those who live in the District, abortion is still legal and accessible. Given the draft decision, we need to begin the work today to ensure that abortion remains legal and accessible. Republicans in Congress may take control of the House and Senate in November. Should this happen, there is little doubt that Republicans will propose a federal abortion ban. While moderate Republicans may kill such a bill, it is clear that the anti-choice movement will not rest until severe concessions are made negatively affecting all areas of a women’s reproductive health. I fear that DC might find itself in the crosshairs of Republicans who will try to ban abortion in the nation’s capital as a symbolic down payment on a future national ban. This is even more of a reason why DC statehood is so imperative. DC must take steps now to ensure women retain control of their bodies and are afforded safe access to quality reproductive care, should Republicans take control of Congress. We must, while Democrats control Congress, allocate funds to help women cover out-of-city abortions in our neighboring states that are poised to maintain abortion rights. In 2019, roughly 3,000 abortions were performed for residents of the city. We must allocate funds and resources now to ensure that if a GOP-controlled Congress imposes a ban, the systems for securing an out-of-state abortion are in place, and funding is already allocated far beyond Congressional review. The leaking of the draft decision is a wake-up call. Restrictions to abortion and efforts to overturn the right to privacy for millions of women have been part of the conservative agenda since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. These actions were planned and carried out despite the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe in the tenets of Roe. We cannot claim we did not see this coming, we must be proactive and enshrine at the local level funding that invests in women’s health and provides her with options, should Republicans attempt to impose their will over DC. Ending Roe opens the door for the erosion of other rights. It is not just an assault on abortion rights, but potentially on all rights, which some may see as contrary to “supposed” history and traditions going well beyond abortion to potentially contraception, marriage equality, and the right to same-sex relations. We know this because conservatives are already testing the waters to see how far they can push the Court to overturn these landmark laws. Texas, which has already passed an anti-abortion law that lets citizens sue individuals who assist women seeking the procedure, has declared it will challenge a previous Court ruling that guaranteed public education for undocumented immigrant children. Equity allows for choice. Let’s stand with women and their right to choose and work to reduce the opportunity for conservatives to take away other rights and progress. There may be only a small window to protect women’s rights here in DC. The midterms are just around the corner. We need to act now.
Brianne K. Nadeau*:
As Councilmember for Ward 1 I have had the opportunity to advance each of these issues over the past 8 years. I'm particularly proud of the bill I introduced recently to establish sanctuary here for abortion and several more moving through the Council now that I'm pleased to co-introduce.
DC Council Ward 3
I strongly support the Enhancing Reproductive Health Act legislation sponsored by Councilmember Henderson and cosponsored by Mary Cheh among others, which anticipates that a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade will force women to travel here from other jurisdictions for abortion care. The bill ensures that an individual cannot be penalized for seeking, or assisting others in seeking, an abortion.
Abortion care is healthcare. Here is my four-point plan on how to strengthen and protect abortion care in the District:
1. Make DC a sanctuary city for abortion care. I will draft legislation to prevent DC from cooperating with investigations from other states that try to criminalize women and their choices.
2. Establish a program that anyone who needs abortion care and can’t afford it can get assistance to ensure they get the care they need.
3. Protect the right to birth control and bodily autonomy by passing legislation that goes farther than abortion care but includes body autonomy as well.
4. Establish a right to privacy regarding healthcare in the District and provide transportation assistance for healthcare not offered in the District. Should the GOP take over Congress, we need to be ready with creative legal theories to protect a woman's right to choose. If, under a Republican Congress, reproductive rights come under fire in the District, this law will provide assistance to District women who seek abortions outside of the District. To ensure that this will not be undone by a Republican Congress, we would need to couple various healthcare procedures together so that an attack on abortion care would appear to be an attack on other forms of healthcare, too.
I have always been a strong advocate of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC’s mission, including access to safe, legal abortion care and LGBTQIA+ inclusive and affirming care. I am proud to live in DC and believe it must continue to lead on abortion access. As Ward 3 Councilmember, I will be a loud and leading voice in expanding and protecting access to abortion care. I have also been advocating for D.C. to become a state for years and believe this issue is especially urgent now, given how Medicaid cannot pay for abortion care due to Congress and because the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in the weeks ahead. As Ward 3 Councilmember, I will support Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC’s in all of its efforts to make sure the District remains a safe haven for abortion access for residents, as well as for the millions of people across the south who could very soon see their abortion access stripped away. I know that people will be relying on the leadership of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC in the weeks and months ahead and I plan to support the organization and the residents who need abortion care in every way possible. Thank you all for everything you do for our the residents of DC and beyond.
DC Council Ward 5
Faith Gibson Hubbard:
For this question - (Do you support confidentiality of insurance communications regarding reproductive healthcare services, including abortion, for minors covered by another person’s plan?) the answer is not black or white. There must be nuance in deciding the right way forward. In cases of sexual assault, where a family member might be the perpetrator, I can see where this might be needed. But after care for abortion is important so if minor is having complications adult should know - so this is tricky. From a reproductive justice perspective this is a tough question. The question is how to do create supportive environments for adolescents/minors seeking an abortion and further asking does this pertain to anyone under age 25 on parents insurance?
Zachary's vision is about building holistically healthy communities where neighbors have their needs met, including reproductive health, trauma support, and other basic needs. To do this, we must center the needs of Black women in our economy and policy-making. To that end, Zachary released his Black Women Best Economy platform. Our economic policies should do the most work for those who have been held back the most. Find out more here:
DC Council Ward 6
At a time when access to women's healthcare, including the right to an abortion, is under direct threat in the Courts and the halls of Congress, we need committed leaders that have stood with Planned Parenthood and aren't afraid of the fight to come. I have been proud to partner with Planned Parenthood to expand reproductive rights, combat maternal mortality, and support women's healthcare in the District of Columbia. As the Ward 6 Councilmember, you can count on me to stand strong with you yet again.
DC Council At-Large
I am a fierce advocate for reproductive healthcare. As Council Member, I pledge to use my authority to expand access to abortion care for pregnant people, promote LGBTQ+ access to inclusive healthcare and gender affirming therapy, and address the maternal mortality crisis that is disproportionately affecting black women in DC.
As a woman and a mom who delivered prematurely at 24 weeks, the health and well-being of women is personal to me. The reproductive rights of women are under threat nationwide and we must be mindful of the impact that the lack of Statehood can play on the rights of women in DC. I will be an At-Large Councilmember that will fight for and champion women's reproductive health rights in DC.