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Sanders releases reproductive health-care plan

Sanders releases reproductive health-care plan
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Ocasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas MORE (I-Vt.) released a reproductive health-care plan Saturday, just days before he and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE face off as the two Democratic frontrunners in six primaries on Tuesday. 

The plan, dubbed “Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All Plan” expands federal funding for Planned Parenthood by repealing the Hyde Amendment, and seeks to make birth control medication over-the-counter as well as free under "Medicare for All." 

Sanders also seeks to protect abortion rights in the judicial system by codifying Roe v. Wade into a legislative statute and requiring “all judicial nominees to support Roe v. Wade as settled law.”

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The topic is particularly timely as the Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments on a Louisiana abortion law that could lead the high court to take another look at the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

“When I am in the White House, we will fight back against the Republican assault on abortion rights across this country and defend a woman’s fundamental right to control her own body,” Sanders said in a statement. “As President, there will be no doubt that in the United States of America, abortion is a constitutional right. Period.”

In the plan, Sanders also addresses racial disparities in reproductive healthcare, pointing out black women are 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Sanders seeks to lower those risks by adding resources to historically underserved hospitals and clinics and investing in “culturally competent care.” 

Black women are also more likely to be uninsured than white women, though the plan appears to follow a premise of Medicare for All, a universal healthcare policy that is the cornerstone of his 2020 election campaign. Under this healthcare plan, private insurance would be eradicated. 

“There has been no time in the history of this country when women, especially Black women, have had the reproductive freedom and justice that they deserve,” Sanders said. “In my administration, that will finally change.”

The plan comes days before Sanders and Biden go head-to-head in six state primaries, including the key state of Michigan. Sanders, who was once the frontrunner, fell behind Biden after Super Tuesday in terms of delegate count, though this coming Tuesday gives him an opportunity to catch up. 

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.