06.08.21 (PRESS RELEASE) — Today, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)—a bill that would protect the right to access abortion throughout the country—was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). WHPA would create a federal statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care, and a corresponding right for their patients to receive that care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care and impede access.
The introduction of WHPA comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case next term that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. The case—filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and appealed to the Court by the state of Mississippi—challenges the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, the above members of Congress immediately announced their intention to reintroduce WHPA. This bill would protect the right to abortion under federal law, even if Roe were overturned.
WHPA is being introduced in the 117th Congress with 176 original co-sponsors in the House and at least 45 in the Senate – the highest number of original co-sponsors ever for this bill. During the 116th Congress, WHPA earned 260 co-sponsors, more than in any previous Congress. The Center has been supporting the bill since its first introduction in 2013, when it had 132 co-sponsors in the House and 35 in the Senate. Since then, it has garnered more support each term.
Also today, a poll conducted earlier this year by Hart Research Associates was released, showing that a majority (61%) of voters believe abortion rights across the country should be protected with a new federal law like WHPA. Support is especially strong among Black voters (79%) and other voters of color.
“This poll sends a clear message to Congress: the majority of voters want abortion protected under federal law,” said Nancy Northup (she/her), President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We cannot wait any longer. If Roe falls, many states will immediately take action to make abortion a crime. Even now, with constitutional protections in place, state legislators have made it impossible to access abortion in the South and Midwest. Especially for Black people and other people of color who already face barriers to health care. This bill—WHPA—would protect against the hundreds of state restrictions and bans that have pushed abortion out of reach. This is an issue of equal access, everywhere.”
“This new polling reconfirms what young people and people of color have been saying for years: We want abortion care that is free from medically unnecessary restrictions that shame, stigmatize and deny us timely, confidential abortion care,” said Danielle Hurd-Wilson (they/them), Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “Each of us should be able to make our own decisions about whether and when to become a parent. Period. It’s time to listen to the people most affected by reproductive oppression about what we need for our communities to thrive. The Women’s Health Protection Act will bring us a step closer to that that goal.”
Key Poll Takeaways:
- 61% of voters nationally support passage of a national law that would protect the constitutional right to access abortion by creating a nationwide safeguard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. That law is WHPA. This includes:
- 82% of Democrats
- 60% of independents
- 39% of Republicans
- 62% of swing voters
- 63% of suburban women
- Support for WHPA is especially strong among voters of color and voters under age 30, with large majorities expressing support for creating a national law:
- 79% of Black voters
- 67% of Hispanic voters
- 67% of Asian-American and Pacific-Islander voters
- 66% of voters under age 30
- 7 in 10 voters (68%) believe that the constitutional right to abortion should be protected. This is the majority point of view across most of the electorate, including:
- 91% of Democrats
- 71% of independents
- 43% of Republicans, including 72% of moderate and liberal Republicans
- 72% of swing voters
- 68% of suburban women
- 58% of voters nationwide say it is a big concern that 24 states are likely to ban abortion completely if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The full poll results are available here.
Already this year, more than 70 state-level abortion restrictions have been passed into law, putting 2021 on track to be the worst year for abortion access in decades. Nearly 90% of counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider and five states are down to their last abortion clinic. If Roe were to be overturned, 24 states and 3 territories would likely prohibit abortion entirely, according to an analysis by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Already, 12 states have so-called “trigger bans” in place that would ban abortion immediately if Roe falls.
POLL METHODOLOGY: Hart Research conducted the nationally representative online survey from January 15, 2021 to January 20, 2021 among 1,629 registered voters. The sample is demographically and geographically and politically representative of the 2020 electorate nationally.