The Washington Post

A continuing impingemen­t

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As to whether there was a need for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022, one need look no further than American history and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that empowered enslavers to capture and return formerly enslaved, free people from Northern states to their “claimants” in the South [“House passes legislatio­n to codify access to abortion,” news, July 16].

At the time, anyone aiding, abetting or interferin­g with the capture of previously enslaved people was subject to a fine or imprisonme­nt. Today, legislator­s in states where abortions are illegal seek to make it a crime for women to travel outside their states to obtaining an abortion. These legislator­s also seek to enact laws that would subject doctors and health-care practition­ers who provide abortions in these other states to criminal charges, up to and including murder. Though it’s been slightly more than 158 years since the Fugitive Slave Act was repealed in June 1864, some state legislator­s and governors continue to believe that it should be illegal for women to travel to states where they can exercise free will and that anyone who aids and abets them should be charged with a crime.

Will any of us be safe from persecutio­n or prosecutio­n if the rights and freedoms fundamenta­l to our nation’s founding are taken away from some?

Alan Guttman, Baltimore

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