Center CEO Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Protect Abortion Access

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House Hearing on Women’s Health Protection Act Held February 12

02.13.2020

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Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, testified on February 12 at a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act. The landmark federal legislation would safeguard the right to access abortion care across the United States.  

In her testimony, Northup stated, “Recently, people across the nation have been calling on Congress to stand up for women and codify Roe. The Women’s Health Protection Act is the answer to that call. The moment is now to draw the line on the decades of assaults on women’s rights.” 

Northup described the current state of abortion access in the United States—including the “avalanche of restrictive state laws designed to make the right to abortion unavailable.” Northup added, “Never have I been as concerned as I am today about the promise of Roe being hollowed out for too many women.” 

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would establish a statutory right for health care providers to provide, and their patients to receive, abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations, and bans that delay, and at times, completely obstruct access to abortion. 

The hearing was held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The Women’s Health Protection Act was introduced in May 2019 in the House by Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). 

Also testifying in support of WHPA was Holly Alvarado, an advocate who described the multiple barriers she encountered accessing abortion care in the days leading up to an Afghanistan deployment with the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician-gynecologist who serves as Medical Director of Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, testified to the committee about the challenges her patients face when trying to access abortion care in Alabama, a state with numerous bans and medically unnecessary restrictions on access to abortion care. 

Nearly 450 state laws restricting access to abortion care have been enacted since 2011, and clinics have been forced to close—making ability to access abortion care is incredibly uneven from state to state. Nearly 90 percent of American counties are without a single abortion provider, and six states are down to their last abortion clinic.  

For more details about the Women’s Health Protection Act, visit ActForWomen.org.