On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Conn.), and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) in the Senate and the House, with 45 cosponsors and 179 cosponsors, respectively.
The Women’s Health Protection Act was originally introduced in 2013, then again in 2015, 2017, and 2019. It would create a federal statutory right to abortion nationally, free from unnecessary restrictions and TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that disproportionately impact women of color, trans, nonbinary, and low-income patients.
WHPA would supersede all abortion restrictions passed by state legislators designed to impede access to abortion. 2021 is on the way to become a record breaking year for abortion restrictions passed, with anti-abortion legislators introducing 536 abortion restrictions in 46 states, including 146 abortion bans in the first five months of this year, according to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute.
“Right now in states across this country, Roe v. Wade is under attack and millions of women are at risk of losing the freedom to make their own personal health decisions,” said Rep. Baldwin in a statement. “It is past time to stand up to these extreme threats to women’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights, which is why I’m championing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Every woman, regardless of where she lives, deserves the freedom to make her own, personal decisions about her health care, her family and her body.”
“For decades, extremist lawmakers have worked relentlessly to turn back the clock and restrict women’s health and reproductive rights,” said Rep. Escobar. “In Texas, Republicans recently passed one of the most draconian laws in the country to ban abortions as early as six weeks – before most women even know they are pregnant, and without making any exceptions for victims of rape or incest. We must urgently pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to preserve women’s access to safe and legal abortions everywhere.”
The introduction of WHPA comes shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, which has put the fate of Roe v. Wade in jeopardy. If passed, WHPA would secure the right to abortion access in all 50 states, regardless of the court’s ruling and any state amendments or “trigger” laws that outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
According to a poll released by the Center for Reproductive Rights and conducted by Hart Research Associates, 61% of voters believe there should be federal legislation that protects the right to abortion.