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July 20, 2022

Pressley, Krishnamoorthi, Philips, Porter, Bush Call on Private Mail Carriers To Uphold Customers’ Constitutional Rights To Privacy And Protections Against Unreasonable Search And Seizure Of Abortion Medications

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi, Dean Phillips, Ayanna Pressley, Katie Porter, and Cori Bush requested a closed briefing with private mail carriers to detail what each company is doing to ensure individuals’ rights to privacy and protections against unreasonable search and seizure are upheld. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, certain state and local law enforcement entities may attempt to prevent access to safe, effective, and legal abortion medication by seizing deliveries while in transit.

“Nineteen states have specifically banned the use of telemedicine to provide medication abortion, seeking to prevent women and gender diverse individuals from accessing abortion medication,” the Members wrote. “However, while these state laws may prevent the dispensation of abortion medication, abortion medication is not an illicit substance and individuals are under no obligation to turn over this medication to law enforcement.”

“In the event that state or local law enforcement request to search packages in your company’s possession for abortion medication, we urge you to uphold your customers’ constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure by requiring that law enforcement provide a search warrant before giving officers access to company premises or property,” the Members continued. “Moreover, in the event that your employees become aware that a package in their possession contains abortion medication, they are under no obligation to alert law enforcement, as this medication is FDA-approved and therefore legal.”

“We must use every tool available to protect reproductive healthcare,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “People have a right to access safe, effective and FDA-approved medication abortion through the mail, and mail delivery companies must commit to respecting that right.”

“As some states move to ban or severely restrict access to medication for reproductive health care, it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure that women and gender diverse individuals can still access abortion medication,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “Private mail carriers must do everything they can to protect their consumers’ constitutional right to privacy.”

“FDA-approved abortion medication is more important now than ever,” Congressman Phillips said. “Women are not the property of their State, so they should be able to receive mail from whomever they please without fear of reprisal.”

“Every American should be free to make their own private decisions,” said Congresswoman Porter, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “Extremists have indicated they’ll use every trick in the book to prevent Americans from obtaining abortions, including through legal home delivery. My colleagues and I want to know how carriers intend to respect the freedom of Americans who seek legal, safe, effective, FDA-approved medication through the mail.”

“At a time when states like Missouri are enacting far-right extremist, harmful abortion bans, Congress has a responsibility to do everything we can to safeguard people’s privacy and protect access to abortion care. I am proud to join my colleagues in calling for a briefing with private mail carriers to ensure that people can continue to access critical, lifesaving medication without fear of being investigated and criminalized because of their reproductive health care decisions,“ said Congresswoman Bush.

The full text of the letter to FedExUPS, and DHL are each available here.

Congresswoman Pressley has been a leading advocate for abortion access throughout her time in public life and she serves as Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force. 
Last month, shortly before the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Rep. Pressley led a group of her Black women colleagues in writing to President Biden urging him to declare a public health emergency amid the unprecedented threats to abortion rights nationwide. She condemned the Supreme Court decision and called on the President to use every executive tool available to protect abortion access. 

In her time serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has fought persistently to protect fundamental reproductive and sexual health care rights. 

  • Last year, Congresswoman Pressley, along with U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere. Recently, she issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade., and implored the Senate to protect abortion rights and slammed the white supremacist roots of anti-abortion efforts.
  • In September 2021, Rep. Pressley issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s inaction on SB-8, Texas’ restrictive abortion law. Later that month, she participated in a House Oversight Committee hearing to examine the threat posed by abortion bans and underscored the urgency of the Senate passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. 
  • In April 2021, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), led a group of 131 Democratic members in reintroducing the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all people, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, can make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
  • As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has led the fight to repeal the Hyde Amendments from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills and in July 2020 published a Medium post on the importance of doing so. The amendment was
  • In May 2020, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.
  • In May 2019, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade.
  • In June 2019, Rep. Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription. 
  • In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services