WHPA would guard against the abortion bans and other medically unnecessary restrictions being passed in Texas and across the U.S.
WASHINGTON — Today, in a historic move, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA).This critical legislation, introduced by U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), protects the right to abortion throughout the United States and guards against the abortion bans and other medically unnecessary abortion restrictions being advanced and enacted by state politicians in Texas and across the country. WHPA establishes a statutory right to provide and receive abortion care. Today’s vote comes less than one month after Texas’s radical six-week abortion ban went into effect, which has made abortion in the state virtually inaccessible.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
Given the unprecedented level of attacks on the constitutional right to an abortion in Texas and across the country, it is imperative that the federal government step in. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives did its part. The historic House passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act is an important step in protecting the right to access an abortion in the U.S, and halting the wave of harmful and deeply unpopular abortion restrictions across the country. We thank the reproductive health care champions in the House for advocating for safe, legal abortion and Speaker Pelosi for bringing this to the House floor. Now the Senate must follow suit and immediately pass this critical legislation.
Texas’s unconstitutional six-week abortion ban is just the latest example of restrictive policies enacted at the state level. Since 2011, lawmakers have enacted nearly 600 restrictive laws through state legislatures that make abortion difficult and, sometimes, impossible to access. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 600 abortion restrictions in 47 states have been introduced in 2021 alone, and 90 of those have been enacted. These attacks most harm the same people who have always faced systemic barriers to care — Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, the LGBTQ+ community, young people, those living in rural communities, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes.
Abortion restrictions are also deeply unpopular: 79% of Americans support the right to safe, legal abortion protected under Roe v. Wade. The vast majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal. Nearly 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
WHPA was first introduced in Congress in 2013 and has been re-introduced every year since, however, the legislation has never received a vote in either chamber. Nevertheless, champions in the House such as Reps. Judy Chu, Lois Frankel, Ayanna Pressley, and Veronica Escobar, and in the Senate such as Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), have continued their tireless advocacy for this bill. Reproductive health, rights, and justice activists, organizers, and allies have also been at the forefront and helped make today’s historic moment happen.
While passing WHPA will not grant all people equitable access to abortion and other essential health care overnight, it is an essential step in the march toward obtaining reproductive freedom.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and 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 Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.