02.17.22 (PRESS RELEASE)— Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced that the Senate will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) on February 28, 2022. The bill—which would protect the right to abortion in federal law—has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This vote comes as the Supreme Court considers a case out of Mississippi—Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health—in which it is being asked to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion completely.
Statement from Nancy Northup, President & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“We are thrilled that the Senate is addressing the urgent need to protect abortion access across the nation. The Supreme Court has failed to stop the Texas abortion ban and is entertaining Mississippi’s quest to overturn Roe v. Wade. It has abandoned its duty to ensure that states do not nullify individual constitutional rights. People are counting on the Senate to do what the Supreme Court will not. The hardship and chaos in Texas right now is coming to other states soon, unless the right to abortion is protected through federal legislation.
This historic vote will be the first time the Senate votes on standalone legislation to enshrine the right to abortion in federal law. We applaud Majority Leader Schumer for taking this step and the Senators who have championed this bill for years and brought us to this moment.”
The Biden Administration has voiced strong support for WHPA. One in four women will have an abortion during her lifetime, and the majority of Americans support the right to abortion. Yet, already in 2022, around 20 states have introduced laws that ban abortion at various stages of pregnancy or altogether. Last year was the worst year for reproductive rights since 1973, when Roe was decided, with more than 100 state-level abortion restrictions passed across the country.
If Roe v. Wade falls, about half the states in the country will likely take action to ban abortion immediately. The Guttmacher Institute recently released new data showing how far people in each state will need to drive to reach abortion services if Roe is overturned. People in some states would need to drive more than 1,000 miles round trip to access care, including people in Louisiana, Florida and Texas. The people who cannot afford to travel to other states have been forced to give birth or attempt to manage their abortion on their own. This falls hardest on Black people, communities of color, young people, and those living on a low income.
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