Councilmember proposes bill to establish abortion, LGBQT sanctuary in District

A D.C. councilmember has introduced legislation to establish a human rights sanctuary in the District. 

Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau has co-sponsored the Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022, along with Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Vincent Gray, Christina Henderson, Janeese Lewis George, Elissa Silverman, Robert White, and Kenyan McDuffie. 

The only councilmembers not listed as co-sponsors are Trayon White, and Brooke Pinto. 

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"It is rare that we get a sneak peek into a court decision that will have such a devastating impact to our residents, and it’s clear from the draft opinion that even more than the right to abortion is at stake," Nadeau said in a statement. "Under Samuel Alito’s regressive, political, results-oriented reading of the Constitution, all substantive due process and equal protection rights, such as the rights to marriage, non-procreative sexual conduct, and the use of contraception are under threat. With this legislation I am hoping we can solidify the rights of our own residents as well as those who may now be forced to travel here to preserve their own."

The proposed legislation would prevent the District from cooperating with investigations in furtherance of proceedings that seek to impose civil or criminal liability for the protected conduct identified in the statute. It also creates a private right of action against parties who successfully bring Texas-style bounty claims against others for engaging in protected conduct, the statement claims. 


The bill is partially modeled after Connecticut’s recently passed Reproductive Freedom Defense Act.  

It protects the rights of District residents to live with whom they please, love whom they love, and control their reproductive destinies. 

It also aims to make the District a safe haven for trans youth who need gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ individuals who need to preserve their families, and all people who need reproductive freedom.

"While I am hurt and horrified by the assault on human rights perpetrated by the Supreme Court," Nadeau added, "I am resolved to do all that I can to protect women and other District residents whose liberties are endangered."