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Planned Parenthood Urges Congress to Block State Abortion Restrictions

‘This bill would ensure that a woman’s constitutional rights don’t depend on her zip code,’ says Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards

WASHINGTON, DC – Planned Parenthood Federation of America is applauding legislation introduced today that would block state restrictions on access to abortion. The bill would protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions, no matter where she lives, without interference from politicians.

Introduced today by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), along with Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the Women’s Health Protection Act would create federal protections against state restrictions on abortion that do not advance women’s health and safety, and instead create barriers to accessing this safe and legal medical procedure.

“Over the last two years, we’ve seen a record number of bills introduced, passed, and signed in the states to cut women off from access to safe and legal abortion. This legislation would make it unlawful for politicians to interfere with women’s personal health care decisions. This bill would ensure that a woman’s constitutional rights don’t depend on her zip code,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 

“As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, we see firsthand the terrible impact that these restrictions have on women – cutting thousands of women off from access to safe and legal abortion, and from basic preventive health care.  Planned Parenthood will continue to fight these dangerous laws everywhere we can – from statehouses to courthouses to Capitol Hill.  We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Senators Blumenthal and Baldwin, and Representatives Chu, Frankel and Fudge for introducing proactive legislation to combat these attacks on women’s health and standing up for women across the country,” Richards said.

In the last few years, more than 160 restrictions on access to abortion have passed in 30 states – more than 40 of these new restrictions have passed in 2013 alone. For example, South Dakota not only passed an unprecedented 72-hour mandatory waiting period in 2011, this year they exempted weekends and holidays from the calculation; Wisconsin and Alabama enacted targeted restrictions designed specifically to shut down a significant proportion of the states’ providers of safe and legal abortion this year, while a dozen states have recently passed unconstitutional bans on abortion before viability. Many of these laws are passing in states where there already is very little access to health care and family planning for women.

The impact of these restrictions has come into sharp focus in recent weeks, as abortion has been effectively banned in large swaths of Texas after a new law went into effect that prevents approximately a third of the state’s licensed abortion providers from providing abortion services. Overnight, women who made the deeply personal, complex decision to end a pregnancy were prevented from exercising their constitutional rights.  One Texas woman suffering from a life-threatening genetic illness cannot receive an abortion due to the new restrictions there and is reportedly raising funds to travel to a hospital in San Francisco for the procedure.

Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the law in court.  The legislation introduced today would make the restrictions in Texas unlawful.



Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With nearly 750 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood media office: 212-261-4433

Published: 11.13.13

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