Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove advocates for reproductive rights in a post-Roe era

U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., is advocating for reproductive rights and ways to combat “reproductive oppression” following the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“While many of us are focusing on how to fix the Supreme Court and reverse the Dobbs decision, many young women are struggling to give birth because they’re homeless or living in shelters or they are being mistreated in hospitals,” she said.

Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference in January to announce a joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We have hospitals and clinics that are closing down in urban areas because providers are afraid of offering care,” she added.

On Wednesday, the Democratic lawmaker held a roundtable discussion in Los Angeles on reproductive rights with Celinda Vazquez of Planned Parenthood; Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness; Karla Carrillo, a member of Young Parent Leadership Council; and Laura Jimenez, executive director of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.

“We need to continue to amplify and uplift what the needs are in health care,” Vazquez told theGrio.  

“The roundtable…was one way to do that,” she said. “We want to ensure that we’re listening, we’re investing, evolving, and supporting pregnant women.”

Kamlager-Dove told theGrio that during the event the women discussed several topics, including the need for funding health care providers.

She stated that if medical facilities and organizations are not financially backed to sustain the work that they’re doing, it will only “exacerbate maternal mortality rates that are already disastrously too high, especially for the Black community.”

Pro-abortion protest,
Alexis McGill Johnson (center), president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, marched in the New York City Pride Parade in 2022, the year the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

During the conversation, Kamlager-Dove highlighted her bill, the Pregnant Women in Custody Act, which aims to stop the practice of shackling pregnant women and ensure that pregnant women “receive quality care” while behind bars.

“It’s important we remember that women who are pregnant and incarcerated” should not be exempt from “getting the health care that they need,” she told theGrio.

She added that they are often forgotten, and people overlook the fact “that they still need help.”

The California lawmaker also stated that it is important for her congressional colleagues to back the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prohibit the government from placing restrictions on abortion services.

“Women need to be able to access abortion care because the average time now that it takes to travel to an abortion facility has tripled” as a result of the Dobbs ruling, she said.

“We really have to enshrine protections to prevent against continued attacks on reproductive health,” Kamlager-Dove added.

U.S. Supreme Court,
With a conservative majority, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and reproductive rights advocates are now working to protect health care access. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Vazquez told theGrio that organizations like Planned Parenthood need to “continue to be a safe haven for those who are traveling and seeking the care that they should have rightfully had access to before the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Roe v. Wade.”

“I have an 11-year-old daughter. She is growing up in a time where she has less federal protections than I did growing up in this country and that is unacceptable,” she added.

The majority-conservative Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade also granted states authority to adopt their own abortion laws.

As a result, numerous Republican-led states, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Idaho and Texas, enacted strict abortion bans, which have disproportionately impacted Black and brown pregnant women.

Vazquez of Planned Parenthood told theGrio that there needs to be more support from Congress “to meet pregnant people where they are and promote health care.”

Kamlager-Dove told theGrio that to get legislation passed, voters should choose Democratic leaders in the 2024 general elections.

Abortion protest,
Tifanny Burks holds Novah Smith as the members of Florida Planned Parenthood PAC and other abortion rights activists protest in Miami in 2022 after the Supreme Court ruling. (Photo by Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

She asserted that Republican congressional members “are so beholden to the criminal that is Donald Trump and a false premise about evangelicalism that they cannot see the truth that is in front of them.”

On the other hand, she said, “Democrats know what’s at stake and we recognize that women need to be able to make their own decisions about their health care.”

Kamlager-Dove called out House Speaker Mike Johnson and others in the GOP, saying there is “still hope in spite of the fact that we have a speaker who wants a national abortion ban and extreme Republicans who are interested in criminalizing our bodies.”

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U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove is advocating for reproductive rights and combatting “reproductive oppression” after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. She is focusing on helping homeless and mistreated pregnant women and addressing the closure of healthcare facilities. Kamlager-Dove held a roundtable discussion with various organizations in Los Angeles to amplify the needs in healthcare and ensure pregnant women receive support. She highlighted her Pregnant Women in Custody Act to protect pregnant women in jail. She emphasized the importance of funding healthcare providers to reduce maternal mortality rates, especially in the Black community. Kamlager-Dove also called for support for the Women’s Health Protection Act to prevent government restrictions on abortion services. The conservative SCOTUS ruling has led to strict abortion bans in Republican-led states, disproportionately affecting Black and brown pregnant women. Kamlager-Dove urged voters to choose Democratic leaders in the 2024 elections to protect reproductive rights.

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