By Caitlin Moscatello
Last week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) presented a new bill that would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, even if her life were in danger. (It’s worth noting that this is the same type of legislation Texas state senator Wendy Davis spent 10 hours on her feet fending off in June.) The bill, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is far from the only piece of legislation preventing women from having control over their reproductive rights. In 2011 alone, 92 restrictions on abortion were passed at the state level. Currently, one third of women in Texas don’t have access to a safe, legal abortion. And in North Dakota, the state legislature passed a law banning abortions at as early as six weeks—a time frame in which many women don’t even know they are pregnant. (The ban was later blocked by a federal judge, who called it “clearly unconstitutional.”)
Yesterday, senators Tammy Baldwin(D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), as well as representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013. The goal of WHPA is to create federal protections against state restrictions on reproductive rights.
“A woman’s constitutional rights should not depend on her zip code. We need a federal law that puts women’s rights, health, and lives first,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The Women’s Health Protection Act does exactly that.”
The case of Roe v. Wade, and the ruling that every American woman has the right to a safe, legal abortion took place in 1973. As in, 40 years ago.