Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Wednesday that he would use his first day as president to take executive action to protect reproductive rights.
“Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are mounting a coordinated attack on abortion access and reproductive rights. A coordinated attack requires a coordinated response,” he said in a statement. “That’s why on day one of my presidency, I will immediately and decisively take executive action to respond to these relentless efforts to erode Americans’ rights to control their own bodies.”
Booker’s plan would create a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom, which he said would work to advance reproductive rights and health care access. Booker also said he would protect reproductive rights on the legislative front, “including legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law.”
The 2020 candidate also proposed reversing Trump administration policies that block providers from giving proper reproductive health care, restoring funding for family planning and contraceptives, repealing the Hyde Amendment and appointing judges who will protect reproductive rights.
“My goal with these actions isn’t just to undo the damage the Trump administration and Republican state legislatures and governors have caused, but to affirmatively advance reproductive rights and expand access to reproductive care for all,” he said.
Booker’s proposal comes as GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country pass anti-abortion bills that aim to overturn the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a person’s right to have a safe and legal abortion.
Alabama’s governor signed the country’s strictest abortion ban last week, which would make it a felony punishable by up to 99 years for a doctor to perform an abortion in nearly all cases, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Missouri also passed a bill last week that would ban abortions after eight weeks, also including in cases of rape and incest. Georgia and Ohio have passed so-called “heartbeat bills” that ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically at about six weeks into pregnancy, when most women don’t know they’re pregnant yet.
Booker has spoken out against the bills, stressing that men should be just as vocal as women in advocating for reproductive rights.
Activists around the country planned more than 500 events on Tuesday, a national day of action to support reproductive rights.
Several of the 2020 presidential contenders attended the rallies ― including Booker, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The candidates’ attendance signifies that abortion is ramping up to be a key issue in the 2020 elections. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has already rolled out a plan calling for Congress to pass federal legislation protecting abortion rights.