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. During the previous Congress, the bill had 217 co-sponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate. (See the full lists of WHPA’s Senate supporters and House supporters in the 116th Congress.) The 2019 bill was introduced in the House by Congresswomen 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). WHPA will be reintroduced in the new Congress.
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 Act for Women, a national campaign to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Visit the Act for Women website to learn more and find out how you can join in the effort to make WHPA the law of the land.