Women’s Health Champions in Congress Reintroduce Historic Women’s Health Protection Act

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Measure introduced on anniversary of oral argument in landmark Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt
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(PRESS RELEASE) Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) today reintroduced the historic Women’s Health Protection Actfederal legislation designed to enforce and protect the right of every woman to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

Today’s reintroduction comes one year after thousands gathered in front of the Supreme Court to support women’s access to safe, legal abortion as the nation’s highest court heard oral argument in the challenge to Texas’ harmful clinic shutdown law.  The Supreme Court eventually struck down the Texas measure and reaffirmed a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion in their landmark ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt

The Women’s Health Protection Act is consistent with the Whole Woman’s Health ruling and builds on the landmark victory, providing an important additional tool through which to challenge abortion restrictions and ensure women’s access to abortion.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act would safeguard against the unrelenting wave of restrictions on safe, legal abortion that continue to sweep the country,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.  “A woman’s ability to get high-quality, constitutionally protected health care should never depend on her zip code or the ever-changing political winds.

“Now more than ever we need elected officials who will stand up to defend a woman’s right to access safe and legal abortion.  We are proud to stand with the champions of the Women’s Health Protection Act as they work to advance the health, dignity, and rights of women in this country.” 

The Women’s Health Protection Act was first introduced in the 113th Congress in November 2013 and debated before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2014.  It was then reintroduced in the 114th session-- garnering 36 sponsors in the Senate and 147 in the House.  The bill reintroduced today has a total of 41 original sponsors in the Senate and 103 in the House of Representatives.    

Since 2011, politicians have introduced more than 2,300 restrictions on reproductive health care at the state level and more than 250 measures at the federal level.  The Women’s Health Protection Act would prohibit state and federal politicians from imposing restrictions on abortion care that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.  Specifically, the measure would prohibit politicians from imposing a range of dangerous, anti-choice provisions on women seeking to end their pregnancies safely and legally, including:

  • measures like those in Florida which force women to delay their health care and make medically unnecessary trips to a health care provider before they are able to receive safe, legal abortion care,
  • measures like North Carolina’s which ban abortion before viability, including bans on abortion at 20 weeks,
  • measures banning specific abortion methods like those in Louisiana, Kansas and Oklahoma.

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