U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce Legislation to Guarantee Equal Access to Abortion
Women’s Health Protection Act would stop state anti-choice laws
Legislation introduced with historic support in both chambers, with 42 co-sponsors in the Senate & 171 co-sponsors in the House
Members joined leading health advocates at a press conference to announce bill introduction
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the recent passage of restrictive anti-choice state laws in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27), Marcia Fudge (OH-11) and Lois Frankel (FL-22), joined leading women’s health advocates to announce the introduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion, everywhere.
WHPA guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion—and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services—free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship.
From Roe v. Wade in 1973 to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized abortion as a constitutional right. However, anti-abortion advocates have worked for years at the state-level to pass laws meant to undermine or eliminate access to abortion care. Just in this legislative session, 34 laws that restrict and impede access to abortion have already passed in 15 states this legislative session and another 350 restrictive laws have been introduced. WHPA would stop these attacks and ensure that abortion access first guaranteed under Roe is a reality for everyone, everywhere.
“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 Senator Baldwin. “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.”
“As extremist lawmakers viciously attack women’s reproductive rights in statehouses across the nation, the Women’s Health Protection Act has never been more urgent or more necessary. These demagogic and draconian laws hurt women and families as they make personal and difficult medical decisions. This issue is about more than women’s health care, it’s about human rights—all our rights,” said Senator Blumenthal. “The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure women have access to safe and legal abortions, regardless of their zip code. It reaffirms what the Supreme Court and a majority of Americans have declared: Women have a constitutional right to control their own body and make their own choices, without abhorrent political overreach that has no basis in medical science or the Constitution.”
“The fact is, the majority of Americans support a woman’s right to access safe and legal abortions. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) will affirm that right in federal law, providing a necessary safeguard against anti-choice state laws like we have been seeing. Since the Supreme Court upheld our right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade, anti-choice advocates have focused on state legislation meant to chip away at or completely reverse Roe. This effort has resulted in over 400 state-level laws to curb abortion access in just the last 8 years. The draconian bills out of states like Alabama and Georgia last week were the final straw, and you can see that in the broad support we have already gained for WHPA,”said Representative Chu. “Many of us are old enough to remember back alley abortions and the dangerous lengths women had to go to just to make their own choices about their own bodies in the days before Roe. Many even died. That is why we know we cannot, and will not, go back. We cannot subject another generation of girls to the cruelty of having somebody else make choices about their body. WHPA is the means to do that.”
“Safeguarding women’s reproductive health is not just a woman’s issue. It’s a human rights issue,” said Representative Fudge. “If I didn’t know better, I would think I was living in a nation that did not believe in the Constitution or the rule of law. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. The Women’s Health Protection Act represents a critical step in protecting women’s constitutional right to choose. It prevents states from turning back the clock on Roe and ensures women, not the government, have the fundamental right to make decisions when it comes to their own bodies.”
“The Trump Administration and Republican legislators across our country are waging a war on women,” said Representative Frankel, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “This bill will help us fight dangerous abortion bans and protect a woman’s right to control her own reproductive destiny.”
WHPA is endorsed by leading women’s health and civil rights organizations, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the ACLU.
“With an alarming number of states enacting abortion bans and President Trump’s pledge to overturn Roe, we’re taking nothing for granted,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure that a woman’s ability to access abortion care does not depend on her zip code, and we will work tirelessly to guarantee that in law.”
“Let’s be clear: abortion care is still legal in all 50 states and Planned Parenthood will continue to lead the charge to keep it that way—no matter what. We applaud this new effort by our champions in Congress to keep politicians from interfering in patient’s personal health decisions and to protect our rights to access to health care, including safe, legal abortion,” said Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “As a doctor, I am focused on ensuring the health and well-being of women and families. The Women’s Health Protection Act will be a critical effort to help protect people across our country from this unprecedented attack on our rights and freedoms.”
“Anti-choice Republicans have launched an all-out assault on reproductive freedom, mercilessly chipping away at our rights and stripping access to abortion through everything from unnecessary regulations all the way to total bans on abortion. And it’s women and families who are paying the price,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue. “We, the seven in 10 Americans who support abortion access, say ‘no more.’ It’s time for legislation that takes reproductive freedom seriously—and that’s the Women’s Health Protection Act. NARAL applauds this legislation for restoring dignity to women’s healthcare and sending a clear message that our reproductive freedom is not up for debate.”
“In a moment where states across the country are passing reckless, dangerous abortion bans, it is essential that our elected representatives in Washington take action,” said ACLU National Director Ronald Newman. “That is why the ACLU is proud to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would stop state legislatures from instituting a range of restrictions on abortion that cut off access to care. As we fight for abortion to remain legal, we must also fight for abortion to remain accessible. People’s lives depend on it.”
The bill is co-sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
An online version of this release is available here.