Two House members are introducing a bipartisan bill to restore and protect the rights of roughly 1.3 million Americans under conservatorship.
Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Charlie Crist, D-Fla., planned to introduce the Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation (FREE) Act, also called the "Free Britney" Act for singer/actress Britney Spears.
Spears has engaged in a very public battle against her 13-year conservatorship headed by her father, Jamie Spears.
"Britney Spears' conservatorship is a nightmare. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone," Mace said. "Conservatorships undoubtedly protect countless vulnerable Americans from abuse, but the case of Britney Spears reveals a darker side to a system meant to protect people.
"In some cases, conservatorships can rob capable and innocent Americans of their money, careers, and even basic human rights, like the right to reproduce in Spears' case."
Mace said the bill will not just "#FreeBritney, it will give anyone in a conservatorship the right to petition the court for a public guardian with absolutely no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.”
Crist said he was "proud to join Rep. Mace" in introducing the legislation.
"Abusive conservatorships can be an unending nightmare," Crist said, "and tragically we don’t know how many people are being held captive against their will under the broken guardianship system."
Spears was placed under the conservatorship in 2008 after a mental health breakdown. Her mental health issues have not been publicly disclosed.
Before a Los Angeles judge last month, the 39-year-old Spears decried her "abusive" conservatorship. The performer claimed she had been forced against her will to leave a birth control device in place and to take anti-psychotic medication that left her feeling "drunk," The Hill reported.
"I just want my life back, and it's been 13 years, and it's enough," Spears said.
Mace and Crist appeared at a Monday press conference announcing the bill.
Mace said her office has received calls from both "progressives on the West Coast and conservatives on the East Coast" about Spears's case.
"They're all in agreement that this is something that they care about, it's an issue that many Americans care about," Mace said, The Hill reported. "And this is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue. This is a human rights issue."
Crist echoed that sentiment.
"The fact that we have a Democrat and Republican doing this concert in Congress today is pretty extraordinary. We don't see enough of that," said Crist, who‘s running to replace Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in 2022.
"This is really not a right versus left issue, this is a right versus wrong issue, and far too many times these things go wrong. This legislation will give the individual the opportunity to petition that court to make sure that right prevails."
Other lawmakers have used Spears' conservatorship as motivation to investigate such cases.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bob Casey, D-Pa. recently called on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to provide more data on the U.S. conservatorship system, The Hill reported.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., spoke last week at a Los Angeles demonstration protesting Spears's conservatorship.
Gaetz, along with three other GOP lawmakers, invited Spears earlier this month to testify before Congress about the conservatorship.
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