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Protections for abortion providers, seekers passes in state Senate

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

Senate lawmakers pass legislation expanding the range of medical professionals who can preform medical abortions and extending legal protections to abortion providers and seekers.

State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown’s bill takes on greater significance after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last week, triggering bans or tighter restrictions on abortion in more than a dozen states.

It seeks to expand access to abortion services by allowing registered nurses and physician’s assistants to conduct medical abortions. It would also attempt protect abortion providers serving out-of-state clients and their clients by restricting providers from giving medical information to out-of-state law enforcement investigating the termination of a pregnancy. It also offers a route for abortion providers or seekers to recover costs incurred fighting lawsuits filed in other states.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, says the bill not only protects providers and out-of-state healthcare seekers, but Delawareans seeking abortions. “Protecting providers in our state is one of the key elements of this bill," she said. "Because without providers, no woman in Delaware can have access to this critical care.”

Senate Republicans argue the bill takes Delaware into uncharted territory by prohibiting non-fugitive extradition — meaning extradition for actions committed in Delaware that aren't illegal under state law — for terminating pregnancies: a first in state legislative history.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

Paul Kiefer comes to Delaware from Seattle, where he covered policing, prisons and public safety for the local news site PubliCola.