In a hearing chaired by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the U.S. Senate, reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates and experts testified in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a federal bill to protect the right to access abortion throughout the United States. The hearing took place before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Watch highlights from the hearing:
Dr. Jamila Perritt, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, testified that:
“The Women’s Health Protection Act is a critical step to eliminating existing disparities in access to abortion care. As a physician, I find it unconscionable that politicians and pundits paint abortion as a hopelessly divisive issue when in fact it is a deeply personal decision, rooted in autonomy, self-determination, health, and well-being. When ideology takes the place of medical care and science, my patients suffer.”
Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine, highlighted the urgent need for a solution to the current attacks on abortion rights and access, and said:
“Reproductive justice requires every individual to have the right to make their own decisions about having children regardless of their circumstances and without interference and criminalization. It is time to enact the Women’s Health Protection Act. By passing this legislation, you will protect millions of Americans from harmful abortion restrictions that infringe on rights, burden health, and trample dignity.”
Tohan, an abortion storyteller, testified about the state restrictions she had to overcome in order to access abortion care and urged Congress to pass WHPA, saying:
“Senators, I am asking you to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. We need a federal law to protect us from these medically unnecessary laws that delay our access to abortion care and make the experience really difficult. We deserve medically accurate information. We deserve to have our appointments as soon as we make our decision. We deserve abortion care in our communities.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act was reintroduced on June 8, just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case—on a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy—that presents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The Senate bill (S.1975), introduced by Senators Blumenthal and Baldwin, has support from 48 Senators, a record high for the bill, which was first introduced in 2013. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) introduced an identical bill (H.R. 3755) which has 183 supporters in the House.
- 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, 06.08.2021
- About the Women’s Health Protection Act
- WHPA 2021 Survey Report
- Center CEO Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Protect Abortion Access, 02.03.2020
- The Center’s Congressional Advocacy Work