Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau Introduces Measure to Establish Human Rights Sanctuary in District
May 6, 2022, for Immediate Release
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Washington, DC -- In anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that would criminalize rights long held by women and our LGBTQ community, today, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, along Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Vincent Gray, Christina Henderson, Janeese Lewis George, Elissa Silverman, Robert White, and Kenyan McDuffie, introduced the Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022.
“It is rare that we get a sneak peek into a court decision that will have such a devastating impact to our residents, and it’s clear from the draft opinion that even more than the right to abortion is at stake,” said Nadeau. “Under Samuel Alito’s regressive, political, results-oriented reading of the Constitution, all substantive due process and equal protection rights, such as the rights to marriage, non-procreative sexual conduct, and the use of contraception are under threat. With this legislation I am hoping we can solidify the rights of our own residents as well as those who may now be forced to travel here to preserve their own.”
Earlier this week, Politico circulated a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggesting that the Supreme Court will eliminate the constitutional right to abortion later this year. At a press conference with other government representatives on Tuesday, Nadeau promised District residents that she would take legislative action to defend the rights protected by Roe v. Wade.
Nadeau has been involved with Planned Parenthood since high school, and recounted in the press conference Tuesday that it was the March for Women’s Lives of 2004 that inspired her to change her career focus to government and political work.
The proposed legislation would prevent the District from cooperating with investigations in furtherance of proceedings that seek to impose civil or criminal liability for the protected conduct identified in the statute. It also creates a private right of action against parties who successfully bring Texas-style bounty claims against others for engaging in protected conduct.
The bill is modeled, in part, on Connecticut’s recently passed Reproductive Freedom Defense Act. It protects the rights of District residents to live with whom they please, love whom they love, and control their reproductive destinies. It makes the District a safe haven for trans youth who need gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ individuals who need to preserve their families, and all people who need reproductive freedom to flourish as meaningful participants in American life.
“While I am hurt and horrified by the assault on human rights perpetrated by the Supreme Court,” Nadeau added, “I am resolved to do all that I can to protect women and other District residents whose liberties are endangered.”