The right to access abortion care is essential for reproductive autonomy, social and economic equality, and the right to determine our own futures. But in many areas of the U.S., accessing abortion care is extremely difficult or nearly impossible, due to state-level laws that restrict and ban abortion.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to abortion, many states have taken action to deny abortion care. Abortion is currently illegal in 12 states, and more states are expected to ban abortion when state legislatures convene in 2023.
The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is federal legislation that creates a new legal protection for the right to provide and access abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions and bans on abortion. The need for WHPA is more urgent than ever.
What does the Women’s Health Protection Act do?
WHPA establishes a statutory right for health care professionals to provide abortion care and the right for their patients to receive care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care.
Why is WHPA needed now?
Without federal protections for abortion rights, states have already denied millions of people access to abortion care. More than 20% of the country’s population currently resides in states where abortion is now illegal.
Large swaths of the South and Midwest are now abortion deserts—where those seeking care are forced to travel long distances to access services or carry pregnancies against their will.
Abortion bans and restrictions disproportionately impact those who already face discriminatory barriers to accessing health care—including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, women, those working to make ends meet, members of the LGBTQI+ community, immigrants, young people, those living in rural communities, and people with disabilities.
Does WHPA have support in Congress?
Yes, the U.S. House voted to pass WHPA twice in the 117th Congress, in September 2021 and July 2022. In the Senate, the bill did not achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
WHPA was introduced with 176 original co-sponsors in the House and 48 supporters in the Senate, record-high support for the bill at introduction. The bill’s lead sponsors include Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Take action to support WHPA
The Center for Reproductive Rights has actively supported WHPA since its first introduction in 2013, and in 2020, Center president and CEO Nancy Northup testified before Congress in support of the bill.
The Center spearheads a national campaign to pass the WHPA and will continue to advocate for this critical legislation so people in every state have access to abortion care.
- Visit the WHPA campaign’s website to learn more and find out how you can join in the effort to make this critical bill the law of the land.
- Click here to tell your representatives to support WHPA!
|February 03, 2020||Center CEO Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Protect Abortion Access|
|June 01, 2021||WHPA 2021 Survey Report|
|June 08, 2021||Women’s Health Protection Act Introduced in U.S. Congress to Protect Abortion Access|
|June 16, 2021||U.S. Senate Hearing June 16 on the Women’s Health Protection Act|
|September 24, 2021||In Historic Vote, U.S. House Passes Women’s Health Protection Act|
|February 28, 2022||Efforts to Advance Women’s Health Protection Act Continue After Bill Falls Short of Passage in Historic Senate Vote|
|May 09, 2022||In Wake of Leaked Draft Opinion in Supreme Court Case, U.S. Senate to Take Second Vote on Bill to Protect Abortion Rights|
|May 11, 2022||U.S. Senate Fails to Pass Abortion Rights Legislation|
|July 12, 2022||U.S. House to Vote on Bill to Protect Abortion Rights|
|July 15, 2022||U.S. House Again Passes Bill to Protect Abortion Rights|
|January 09, 2023||House Democrats attempt to bring WHPA for a vote as their first official action of the 118th Congress.|
Excerpts from the WHPA House debate before it passed WHPA in 2021:
Excerpts from Congressional testimony by the Center’s Nancy Northup in support of WHPA in 2020: