Netroots Nation: Sen. Tina Smith Joins Reproductive Rights and Court Reform Advocates to Champion Comstock Act Repeal

Panel will discuss building momentum to repeal the dangerous 19th century law

BALTIMORE – Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) will join advocates at Netroots Nation to discuss public health threats posed by the Comstock Act, a law over 150 years old that anti-democracy and anti-abortion extremists claim they can use to ban abortion nationwide if Donald Trump is reelected. Sen. Smith will speak on her recently introduced legislation to repeal harmful provisions of Comstock. Netroots is the largest annual progressive conference in the country.

What: Panel: ‘Zombie Law: The Comstock Act and the Future of Health and Rights’ 

When: Thurs. July 11 at 4-5pm ET

Where: Netroots Nation Conference, Room 307, Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201 – Press passes available here.


  • U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)
  • Nicole Regalado, Vice President of Campaigns, UltraViolet

Why: The Comstock Act is a law over 150 years old that anti-abortion extremists now claim bans abortion nationwide, even in states where abortion remains legal. Advocates for reproductive rights and court reform have been sounding the alarm.  A right-wing administration backed by conservative ideologues in control of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts will try to expand and reinterpret the Comstock Act—as they have with many other laws—to ban not only abortion, but to also prohibit distribution of many other proven health interventions that are routinely attacked by political and religious extremists. These could include gender-affirming care, contraception, HIV and AIDS prevention, STI treatment and education, and drug and addiction treatment. 

This is not a  vague or secret scheme, but an explicit strategy that conservatives are openly pursuing. Advocates are urging Congress to act decisively to repeal this 1873 law dating from when women couldn’t even vote. This law threatens not just reproductive rights, but the entire fabric of public health in the United States. 

The right’s plans to use Comstock to ban abortion would be catastrophic for basic rights and public health. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, total abortion bans have gone into effect in 14 states, six-week bans in three states, and more limited bans in numerous others. These bans have created concurrent public health crises, with rising rates of death and illness due to pregnancy-related causes, individuals denied emergency care are left to bleed out in parking lots, and countless people forced to carry unintended or untenable pregnancies. We must build momentum for full repeal. 

Note to Press: A limited number of free tickets are available to press. To reserve your spot, fill out this form:


For nearly two decades, Netroots Nation has hosted the largest annual conference for progressives in America, drawing thousands of attendees each year from around the country and beyond.

2024 event sponsors include ActBlue, American Federation of Teachers,
Black Male Voter Project, Daily Kos, Mobile Commons, and Pacifica Strategies.


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