March 30, 2023 – Members of Congress today reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation that would protect access to abortion across the United States. The legislation—which was introduced with more than 200 co-sponsors—would restore the nationwide right to reproductive autonomy after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. Members of Congress and leaders fighting for abortion rights marked the reintroduction at a press conference today.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has helped lead a broad coalition of more than 150 organizations spearheading the effort to build support for WHPA. 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.
“Congress can restore what the Supreme Court has broken. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, women and pregnant people across the country are being denied the care they need,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are in the midst of a public health crisis that will only get worse. The Women’s Health Protection Act would establish a nationwide right to abortion—something the strong majority of Americans have shown they support, time and again. This bill has never been more necessary than it is today, and the addition of new provisions will protect the right to travel across state lines to seek care and protect people who assist others in securing abortion care. The time to pass WHPA is now.”
“We applaud the abortion-positive leaders in the House for their continued support and commitment to defending and restoring abortion access,” said Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “The Women’s Health Protection Act is a critical element in our broader fight to end abortion bans and attain the access we deserve. Today, we are one step closer to realizing our full vision for reproductive justice, one where free, fair, and just abortion access is a reality for all, as well as the right to have and raise children with safety and dignity. Even as we celebrate the introduction of this bill, we must acknowledge the ongoing human rights crisis of abortion bans and the criminalization of abortion seekers and helpers. Our people are hurting, and we can and must do more. We will not stop fighting until everyone has access to the reproductive health care they deserve.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act would create a new federal protection for health care professionals to provide abortion care, and for patients to access that care, in all 50 states. The bill reintroduced in the House of Representatives includes new provisions aimed at protecting the right to interstate travel for abortion care as well as protecting people who assist others in finding abortion care. Abortion is now completely unavailable in 14 states, and more state legislatures are moving to enact new abortion bans. For example, Florida lawmakers have introduced a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, and South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that could punish people who get abortions with the death penalty.
About the Center for Reproductive Rights:
The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global human rights organization of lawyers and advocates who seek to protect reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world. Since its founding in 1992, the Center’s game-changing litigation, legal policy, and advocacy work across five continents has transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies. The Center has offices in New York, Washington, Bogota, Nairobi, and Geneva. The Center has played a key role in securing legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, maternal health care, and safe abortion services, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization and child marriage. In the U.S., the Center has litigated four Supreme Court cases in the last six years including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The press conference can be viewed here.