WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauded today’s reintroduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a critical piece of legislation that will protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion across the country. The legislation, sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Lois Frankel (D-FL-22) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11) would block medically unnecessary abortion restrictions being pushed forward in state legislatures by anti-women’s health politicians that have been working tirelessly to chip away at abortion access by passing restrictions under the guise of protecting patient safety.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Despite the fact that legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States, opponents have been working tirelessly to chip away at access in the states — with nearly 60 percent of women now living in a state that is either hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights. These laws are opposed by leading medical groups and doctors because they do nothing to protect patient health or safety and instead limit a woman’s ability to access safe, timely care. That’s why Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act — a critical piece of legislation that will ensure that a woman’s ability to access safe and legal abortion isn’t dependent on her zip code.
“We are at a critical moment in our country — and the decisions being made in Congress and state legislatures across the country will have a profound impact on women and their families. We must protect a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and limit political interference and government overreach into the doctor-patient relationship. Every woman — no matter where she lives or how much money she has — deserves the same opportunities to pursue her dreams. That begins with recognizing that for women, the ability to decide whether and when to have children is key to economic success.”
Yesterday, Planned Parenthood sent a letter to every member of Congress emphasizing that women’s health and economic security are deeply connected and laying out ways that the 114th Congress can move forward on improving health outcomes for women. You can view a copy of the letter here; and an accompanying fact sheet on Planned Parenthood’s services and the role that access to reproductive health care has played in economic advancement here.
It’s been 42 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy includes her right to abortion. Since then, opponents of women’s health have been working tirelessly to chip away at abortion access by passing restrictions under the guise of protecting patient safety. According to a recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.
- The large number of recently enacted abortion restrictions has dramatically reshaped the landscape for women seeking an abortion. In 2000, 13 states had four or five types of abortion restrictions in effect and so were considered hostile to abortion rights. By 2010, 22 states were considered hostile to abortion rights; five that were extremely hostile. By 2014, the number of hostile states has increased to 27, and of those, 18 are extremely hostile. The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights.
- The proportion of women living in hostile states has surged as well. In 2000, 31 percent of women of reproductive age lived in a state hostile to abortion rights, with no women living in a state with enough restrictions to be considered extremely hostile. By 2014, 57 percent of women lived in a state that is either hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.
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 approximately 700 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 Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 21, 2015