In an historic vote on September 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), marking the first time in history that the House has ever passed legislation specifically designed to protect the right to abortion access nationwide. Watch some highlights from the House debate:
Equal access to abortion care is essential for social and economic equality, reproductive autonomy, and the right to determine our own lives. But, in many places, accessing abortion care is extremely difficult, and for many people nearly impossible, because of state-level laws that restrict and ban access to abortion.
The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is federal legislation that would protect the right to access abortion care throughout the United States by creating a safeguard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions.
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?
Politicians have passed nearly 500 state laws restricting abortion access over the past decade. These restrictions have eliminated access to abortion care in large swaths of the United States. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. counties are without a single abortion provider and five states are down to their last clinic. The people hurt most by abortion restrictions are those who already face barriers to accessing health care—including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), 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 Women’s Health Protection Act has strong support in Congress. WHPA was reintroduced in the 117th Congress by lead sponsors 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). The bill was introduced on June 8, 2021 with 176 original co-sponsors in the House and 48 supporters in the Senate, record-high support for the bill at introduction.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has actively supported WHPA since its first introduction in 2013. In February 2020, Center president and CEO Nancy Northup testified before Congress in support of the bill, stating: “The Women’s Health Protection Act protects the provision of and access to essential reproductive health care and the constitutional rights of all people, no matter where they happen to live.”
Take action to support WHPA
The Center for Reproductive Rights is proud to spearhead a national campaign to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Visit the campaign’s website to learn more and find out how you can join in the effort to make WHPA the law of the land. Tell your member of Congress to support WHPA here.
- U.S. Senate Hearing June 16 on the Women’s Health Protection Act, 06.15.2021
- Women’s Health Protection Act to be Introduced in U.S. Congress to Protect Abortion Access, 06.08.2021
- Center CEO Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Protect Abortion Access, 02.03.2020
- WHPA 2021 Survey Report
- The Center’s Congressional Advocacy Work