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US lawmakers introduce bill to codify Roe v. Wade abortion rights

[JURIST] Two US lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to prohibit the government from interfering with a woman's right to have an abortion following the Wednesday's US Supreme Court decision upholding a federal ban on "partial-birth" abortions [JURIST report]. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) [official websites] announced the reintroduction of the Freedom of Choice Act [PDF text], which would codify the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade [LII backgrounder; opinion]. The bill would prohibit government interference with a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability or after viability when necessary to protect the woman's health. Originally introduced [press release] in 2004, the bill sat idle in the Judiciary Committee until the end of the 108th Congress. In a statement [press release] on Thursday, Nadler asserted, "We can no longer rely on the Supreme Court to protect a woman's constitutional right to choose."

On Wednesday, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 [PDF text] in Gonzales v. Carhart [Duke Law case backgrounder], concluding that the Act was not void for vagueness and did not impose an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion. The decision marks the first time the Court has upheld a complete ban on an abortion procedure. AFP has more.

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