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Congresswoman Escobar Introduces Legislation to Protect Healthcare Providers

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) introduced H.R. 7814, the Healthcare Providers Safety Act of 2022. This legislation establishes a grant program for healthcare providers to enhance the physical and cyber security of their facilities, personnel, and patients. 

“Healthcare providers are essential healthcare workers who have been showing up, innovating, and constantly adapting. Those who provide critical abortion services have had to do this in the face of unrelenting threats, violence, and harassment by extremists,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “As we see violent extremism continue in this country, it’s time for Congress to act and provide protections. The intelligence community has been warning of an increased level of political violence against providers due to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade. We need to act with urgency and ensure personnel and facilities have sufficient resources to protect themselves against such threats.” 

The Healthcare Providers Safety Act of 2022 amends the Public Health Service Act to allow the Secretary to award grants to be used by healthcare providers to pay for the costs of necessary security services and enhancements including but not limited to video surveillance camera systems, data privacy enhancements, and structural improvements.

The legislation is currently co-sponsored by 100 Members of Congress and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) will be introducing its Senate companion. 

The Healthcare Providers Safety Act of 2022 has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Women’s Law Center, Feminist Majority Foundation, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Abortion Federation, URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Catholics for Choice.

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America is grateful for Rep. Veronica Escobar’s introduction of the Healthcare Providers Safety Act and working to address the abortion access crisis facing our nation. Congress must strengthen protections for the health care providers and patients in our communities who could be targeted by anti-abortion extremists because of the health care they provide or receive. No one should be afraid to seek or provide essential health care. Planned Parenthood is ready to work with lawmakers at all levels because everyone has a part to play in protecting and strengthening abortion access,” said Karen Stone, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 

“This is a pivotal moment in the fight for reproductive freedom that requires our leaders to step up and fight for our fundamental rights. We’re grateful to Rep. Escobar’s leadership as abortion rights and access face urgent threats, and we look forward to continuing to work with her to ensure that everybody has the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President, Mini Timmaraju.

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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