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House Oversight Committee to examine states' efforts to restrict abortion access

The hearing, set for Sept. 30, will feature testimony from three congresswomen about their abortions.
Image: Abortion Rights Rally At Brooklyn's Borough Hall
Supporters of abortion rights participate in a rally to denounce recent restrictions on abortion in the state of Texas on Sept. 9, 2021 in the Brooklyn, N.Y.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing to examine states' efforts to restrict abortion access, Democrats on the committee said Tuesday.

The hearing is set for Sept. 30 and will focus on the spike in state-level anti-abortion laws and their health and economic impact on patients. According to the committee, the hearing will also examine possible federal legislative action to "protect and expand abortion rights and access."

"When I was elected Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I vowed to use my gavel to protect civil rights and civil liberties, including the constitutional right to abortion," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said. "The first hearing I held as Chairwoman was to examine abortion restrictions in Missouri, and I am devastated that almost two years later, we are holding a hearing on even more draconian and dangerous restrictions taking hold across the country."

Republicans on the committee declined to comment.

It comes as a growing number of states have enacted anti-abortion measures, including Texas' new restrictive law that prohibits abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually at around six weeks of pregnancy.

The Texas law bars state officials from enforcing the ban. Instead, it allows individuals to sue abortion providers or anyone who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit and seek financial damages of at least $10,000 per defendant.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, is poised to hear a Mississippi abortion case in early December. The justices will consider the legality of the state's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Witnesses at the Oversight Committee hearing include Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, a Texas-based OB-GYN, and Maleeha Aziz, a community organizer at the Texas Equal Access Fund.

Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Rep. Judy Chu of California will also testify. Bush, Lee and Jayapal — who have had an abortion — will share their abortion story in an effort, Bush says, to "build a more nurturing world that supports all people and stops shaming and stigmatizing abortion care."

"I believe health care and economic prosperity must be guaranteed to all. Because I believe that abortion care is a human right. Because I believe we must finally pave the way to achieve true reproductive justice," she said.