The U.S. Senate once again failed to enshrine the right to abortion into federal law, falling short of the votes needed to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) toward passage. This was the Senate’s second 2022 vote on the bill, which is supported by a majority of voters in the U.S and was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in September. As with the Senate’s last vote in February, WHPA again did not receive the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a vote on WHPA following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion indicating that the Court may be on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade in a case challenging a Mississippi abortion ban, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. If the Court issues a ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, it would mark the first time in history that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right.
Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement:
“We are likely on the precipice of losing Roe v. Wade, and with it half of the population would lose the right to control their own bodies and futures. We need federal legislation to protect abortion access if Roe falls. Today’s vote was an important step in protecting the right to abortion, even though it fell short of passage. Senators are now on the record at the pivotal moment as either standing up to protect abortion rights or standing aside and letting states deny their residents access to essential healthcare. We are thankful that Senate Majority Leader Schumer brought the Women’s Health Protection Act to the floor and for the senators who voted for this bill today. They understand the stakes and what we stand to lose…Any politician who is not speaking up and voting to protect our rights in this moment is complicit in what comes next—the suffering and panic that will ensue if Roe falls.”
While the bill again did not overcome the filibuster, the vote demonstrates that a strong contingent of Senators is committed to protecting the fundamental right to abortion in the U.S., even as the U.S. Supreme Court considers revoking the right that people across the country have relied on for generations.
WHPA would protect the right to access abortion even if the Supreme Court weakened or overturned Roe v. Wade and took away the constitutional right to abortion.
About the Women’s Health Protection Act
The Women’s Health Protection Act creates a new legal protection for the right to provide and access abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions and bans on abortion, including forced waiting periods, biased counseling, and vigilante bans like the ones in Texas and Oklahoma.
A national representative poll, conducted by Hart Research in 2021, found that 61% of voters support passage of a national law that would protect the constitutional right to access abortion by creating a nationwide safeguard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. The Women’s Health Protection Act would accomplish that.
The Women’s Health Protection Act is Supported by a Broad Coalition
The Center is part of a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations spearheading the effort to build support for the Women’s Health Protection Act. The coalition—made up of organizations committed to sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice—has been building support for WHPA for nearly a decade.
In September 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy supporting passage of WHPA in the House, stating, “In the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live.”
- About the Women’s Health Protection Act
- In Historic Vote, U.S House Passes Women’s Health Protection Act, 09.24.21
- Biden-Harris Statement of Administration Policy, 09.20.21
- U.S. Senate Holds Hearing on the Women’s Health Protection Act, 06.17.21
- Women’s Health Protection Act Introduced in U.S. Congress to Protect Abortion Access, 06.08.21
- Polling: Sold Majority of Voters Support the Women’s Health Protection Act