Senate Judiciary Committee To Hear Testimony On Historic Women's Health Protection Act

(PRESS RELEASE) The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hear testimony today regarding the Women’s Health Protection Act— a historic piece of legislation that would enforce and protect a woman’s right and access to safe, legal abortion care no matter where she lives.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)—who introduced the legislation last November with Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representatives Judy Chu, Lois Frankel and Marcia Fudge in the House—will chair today’s hearing.  Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, will testify in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Today, women’s access to abortion services is being blocked through an avalanche of pretextual laws that do nothing to protect women’s health and safety.  They are designed to accomplish by the pen what could not be accomplished through brute force—the closure of facilities providing essential reproductive health care to the women of this country.

“And now millions of women’s constitutional rights are hanging by a thread—and entirely dependent on where they happen to live.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure that the fundamental right to safe, legal abortion services is unhampered by regulations passed by politicians designed to choke off women’s access to reproductive health care under the guise these laws protect their safety and well-being.  This bill will fulfill the promise of our Constitution, guaranteeing that all women are able to make private, personal decisions about their health care without intrusion from politicians who presume to know better.

“Congress has the unique opportunity to truly act on behalf of women’s health and safety, and to push aside downright dishonest claims that fail to hold water against decades of medical and scientific facts. Today I stand before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act and to call on our elected leaders to put an end to the games politicians have been playing with women’s health care.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act ensures women's access to essential reproductive health care services, including abortion.  Designed as a response to the unrelenting assaults on women's reproductive health care in recent years, the bill would prohibit states from: imposing restrictions on abortion providers that apply to no similar medical care; interfering with women's personal decision making; or blocking access to safe and legal abortion services.  It is a crucial step toward defending access to safe, legal, essential health care and the constitutional rights of every woman in the U.S.

According to a recent report by the Center for Reproductive Rights, politicians in nearly forty states have attempted to restrict women's access to their constitutionally protected right to abortion since the start of 2014—introducing more than 250 pieces of anti-choice legislation.  Women in many states already face extremely limited options when needing to access the full range of reproductive health care services.  For example, some states—including North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi—have but a single remaining clinic offering abortion care to women, who often must travel hundreds of mile to reach it.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has been on the frontlines of defending women’s access to reproductive health care for over twenty years.  The Center is currently challenging harmful and unconstitutional restrictions on women’s access to essential reproductive health care across the country, including admitting privileges requirements in Texas and Mississippi which threaten to severely restrict—if not completely eliminate—safe, legal, and high-quality abortion services.

The Women’s Health Protection Act currently boasts 35 sponsors in the Senate and 125 in the House.  The Center for Reproductive Rights will live stream today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at http://www.drawtheline.org/