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 impossible or extremely difficult, due to state-level bans and laws that restrict 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 13 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 bans and 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, Latina/x, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other 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, on March 30, 2023, WHPA was introduced in the House of Representatives with 208 original co-sponsors by lead sponsors Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX). It was introduced in the Senate on March 8 by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
In the 117th Congress, the U.S. House had voted to pass WHPA twice, in September 2021 and July 2022. In the Senate, the bill did not achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
Take action to support WHPA
The Center for Reproductive Rights has actively supported WHPA since its first introduction in 2013 and 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!
Photos from the press conference announcing the reintroduction of WHPA, March 30, 2023:
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: