Skip to main content

Home News News World

Washington DC Mayor signs ‘comprehensive’ trans and abortion bill

The legislation protects the rights of those seeking care for abortion, contraception, sexual conduct, intimate relationships, and gender-affirmation.

By Emily Maskell

Trans flag
A petition calling for the definition of 'sex' in the 2010 Equality Act to not be amended has attracted thousands of signatures. (Image: Unsplash)

The mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, has garnered praise for signing “the most comprehensive trans and abortion refugee bill in the USA,” according to supporters.

The Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022 (D.C. ACT 24-646) was signed on 21 November and protects the right to bodily autonomy and of those seeking care for abortion, contraception, sexual conduct, intimate relationships, and gender affirmation.

“The bill will also prevent the District government from cooperating or facilitating investigations or proceedings that try to prosecute any individual seeking any of these protected acts,” a press release for the Act reads, meaning anti-trans and anti-abortion laws cannot be used against people fleeing states.

As activist Erin Reed details: “No cops, no jails, no warrants, no subpoenas, not even ink to paper.”

Reed adds: “DC is now a human rights sanctuary. Washington D.C. now joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California in protecting internally displaced trans and abortion refugees in the United States from extradition back to their home states.”

The legislation is a huge win following the Supreme Court’s controversial overturning of the landmark Roe vs Wade back in June that left abortion rights unprotected nationwide.

DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau shared online she drafted and introduced this legislation in May in order to provide a “safe haven for trans youth, LGBTQ+ people who need to preserve their families, and all people who need reproductive freedom.”

“As we see more and more basic rights being curtailed by conservative courts, the DC Council has affirmed that the District will remain a place people can seek comprehensive healthcare and expect their privacy to be protected,” Nadeau added. 

In July, Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Policy Director Kate L. Vlach published a testimony on the bill before the District of Columbia: “The Sanctuary Bill and related pending legislation seek to bolster the District’s longstanding policy of protecting civil and human rights, including the rights to make pregnancy decisions, access gender-affirming medical care, and engage in same-sex relationships.”

They went on to outline the slate of reforms would bring residents, visitors, and medical providers “clarity and reassurance to exercise their rights without fear of prosecution.”

They concluded: “The Office of the Attorney General thanks the Council for continuing to lead the way on these issues, and we look forward to partnering with you as the Sanctuary Bill and others move through the legislative process so that we can ensure our community remains one where all people are safe and welcome.”

The Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022 marks a step in the move towards securing equal rights for the whole of the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to access to healthcare and adequate treatment in the US.

While the legislation is celebrated, some are wary that Congress would be able to override the bill as it has not been fixed as a state law.