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Campaign Week in Review: Cory Booker on Reproductive Freedom and ‘Dystopian’ Period Tracking in Missouri

Ally Boguhn

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential contender, said his White House Office of Reproductive Freedom would deal with issues of reproductive freedom including infertility, maternal mortality, infant mortality.

Join Rewire.News for a weekly look at how reproductive health, rights, and justice issues are popping up on the 2020 campaign trail.

2020 Democrats Took to Twitter to Talk Abortion 

After a U.S. District Court blocked Alabama’s abortion ban—under which abortion providers could have faced a felony charge and up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion—Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination weighed in on the decision.

Beto O’Rourke called for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation “guaranteeing access to safe and legal abortion in all 50 states.”

“These victories are important, but we cannot rely on courts—with judges appointed by Donald Trump—to protect a woman’s right to choose,” the former Texas representative posted on Twitter before making the call for legislation to safeguard abortion rights.

This isn’t the first time O’Rourke has signaled his support for codifying the right to an abortion. He backed the idea in May following the lead of other presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Cory Booker (NJ), as well as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), who has since dropped out of the race.

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South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded to news that Alabama’s extreme abortion ban had been blocked by voicing his intent to protect the right to an abortion. “It’s past time to end the assault on reproductive freedom in our country,” he said in a tweet. “As president, I will act to safeguard the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion and related care.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) also responded to the news out of Alabama, tweeting, “Unconstitutional bans like this should never become law in the first place. Under my presidency, they won’t.”

Booker didn’t tweet about the court decision, but he did weigh in on news that Missouri health officials investigating a Planned Parenthood clinic—the state’s last standalone abortion clinic—had assembled a spreadsheet of patient information, including dates of menstrual periods. “This news out of Missouri is deeply disturbing,” Booker tweeted. “The decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her health care provider, free from government interference. This abuse of power by Missouri Republicans is dystopian.”

Booker Talks ‘Reproductive Freedom’ With Cosmo

Booker did mention the Alabama ban during an interview with Cosmopolitan for its series, “The Candidates Come to Cosmo.” But his discussion of what his proposed Office of Reproductive Freedom would do if he is elected was what was really noteworthy. He said the office, which would be based in the White House, would coordinate “amongst agencies and activists and groups to try to make sure that we restore and reaffirm a woman’s reproductive rights. And not only dealing with it in just access to abortion, which is health care, not only deal with access to contraceptive care, which is health care but expanding that also and dealing with reproductive freedom.”

Booker explained that the office’s interpretation of reproductive freedom will include dealing with issues such as infertility, maternal mortality, infant mortality. He pointed to the many ways conservatives have sought to roll back access to reproductive health care, adding that “in order to deal with a coordinated attack, we better coordinate better.”

“We should have a nation that is about empowering individual rights and individual freedoms,” Booker continued. “And what’s happening right now is an assault on that, it is endangering the lives of Americans, it is taking away freedom of liberty, and I will not allow it. I share people’s goals about a nation that is just and fair and equal, and the way you achieve that is not by stripping health care away but by providing it. Not by stripping rights and freedoms away but by restoring them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Harris “is dramatically restructuring her [presidential] campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters,” according to a Politico report.

The Democratic presidential field is the most diverse it’s ever been, but as the New York Times reported, “the top tier is all white.”

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden was denied communion this week over his stance on abortion.

The Nation’s Joan Walsh asks: “Can Virginia Democrats Win the Statehouse in 2019?” as Rewire.News outlines some of the Virginia races we’re keeping an eye on.

Georgia state officials are planning to purge 300,000 voters from the state’s rolls. That is “a number that amounts to almost 4 percent of those registered to vote,” according to the New York Times.

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