U.S. Democratic Senators Introduce Bill to Help People with Disabilities Access Reproductive Healthcare

United States Democratic senators introduced a bill on Aug. 4 that would help Americans with disabilities access reproductive health services in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Roe v. Wade ruling.

Senators Patty Murray and Tammy Duckworth announced the Reproductive Health Care Accessibility Act, which they said would eliminate the barriers that people with disabilities face in seeking sexual and reproductive health care.

The legislation would provide funding for education and training programs for healthcare professionals who provide reproductive care for people with disabilities, as well as programs aimed at recruiting the disabled into the reproductive healthcare force.

The legislation would also direct the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study to analyze reproductive healthcare for people with disabilities.

In addition, the legislation would create a new technical assistance center to assist people with disabilities regarding sexual and reproductive health.

Duckworth, who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in Iraq in 2004, said that the bill would “help ensure those in the disability community — all 61 million of us — are not left behind in getting the care we need, when we need it.”

“We constantly have our bodily autonomy questioned. There’s this horrendous history of forced sterilizations, and refusal to allow access to fertility treatments or birth control or abortions. So we absolutely had to be clear to enshrine the rights of persons with disabilities to have their bodily autonomy and, in this case, to deal with their own reproductive rights,” Duckworth told NBC News.

Duckworth said that the long-term goal of the bill is to “grow a community of clinicians that are sufficiently diverse; not just in terms of racial diversity, but also diverse in terms of disability.”

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