Push to ‘Free Britney’ Gains Steam on Capitol Hill

As lawmakers share social media posts and messages of solidarity, activists hope the increased attention on Britney Spears’s conservatorship case will prompt legislative change.

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In the weeks since Britney Spears publicly denounced the long-running legal arrangement that has controlled her life, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have jumped in to declare their support.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, dedicated the latest episode of his podcast to the conservatorship, which has limited Ms. Spears’s decision-making and finances since 2008. “I am squarely and unequivocally in the camp of #FreeBritney,” he said, referring to the movement among her fans and fellow celebrities pushing for the end of the arrangement.

Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, excoriated the case as “the craziest” he had “seen in a long time.”

And the political arm of the House Republican caucus seized the moment to fund-raise, sending texts that described Ms. Spears as “a victim of toxic gov’t overreach & censorship.”

Advocates are embracing the increased attention from members of Congress, saying that the case raises issues of civil liberties as well as the potential for such legal mechanisms to be abused, including by forcing the use of birth control, as Ms. Spears has contended. But they are also urging lawmakers to enact legislative change that could help those trapped in exploitative arrangements.

“It’s always attractive for lawmakers to send out tweets,” said Cassandra Dumas, a founder of Free Britney America, which is based in Washington. “But my call to our lawmakers is, actions speak louder than words.”

Ms. Dumas said that while members of her group initially united over Ms. Spears’s case, they were eager to push for changes that would help others in similar situations but who do not have access to the same resources.

Another challenge is understanding how pervasive any abuse might be, advocates said.

“We don’t even know how many people are in conservatorships and guardianships,” said Zoe Brennan-Krohn, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union’s disability rights program. “We don’t know how long they’ve been there in them. We don’t know whether they want to be there. We don’t know why they’re there. We don’t know whether they have their own lawyers.”

Free Britney America has worked with members of Congress in recent weeks, including Representative Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida, whose office said he would soon introduce bipartisan legislation pressing for more rights and more transparency under such legal agreements.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, for their part, have homed in on the lack of data about the prevalence of guardianships and conservatorships. In a letter, they urged the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department to work on closing that gap.

In her testimony last month, Ms. Spears revealed that her father, who is her conservator, prevented her from having her IUD removed although she wanted to have more children. The disclosure prompted support from across the political sphere, including leaders at Planned Parenthood and Representative Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina.

“It’s insane you can force a woman to basically sterilize herself under the guise of protection,” Ms. Mace tweeted. “If this is happening to Britney Spears, how many other women across the country are silently suffering?”

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