ACTION ALERT: Call Both Your Senators – Tell them to Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act NOW
May 9, 2022
With the looming threat of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade Senate Democrats will again try to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). The vote could happen as soon as Wednesday, May 11th. The need to pass this critical bill is more urgent than ever. Women’s access to essential reproductive health care must be safeguarded. We cannot let the Trump-appointees on the Court prevail.
The House passed WHPA (H.R. 3755) last September by a vote of 218-211. The Senate bill (S. 1975), sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT with 47 co-sponsors), would establish in federal statutes the right to receive abortion care, free from harmful bans and unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and impede access to care. The law would override any Supreme Court ruling limiting access or banning abortion outright and would prohibit any state law that impinges on a person’s exercise of this fundamental right to control one’s reproductive life.
WHY IT MATTERS:
We know from the leaked draft majority opinion in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization the uber-conservative majority plans to overturn the 24-week framework of Roe v. Wade protecting a person’s right to abortion which has stood for nearly a half-century. Ignoring the long-standing precedent of Constitutional protection of the right to obtain an abortion, the Court appears likely to adopt the 15-week ban that is in Dobbs or ban abortion completely, which the state of Mississippi also requested.
If the Roe does fall, half of the states will likely ban abortion altogether, resulting in a large swath of the south and mid-west without access to care – affecting 40 million persons of reproductive age. Many of them women of color; many of them living in marginalized communities.
The six-member conservative majority on the Court twice has failed over the past six months to stop the clearly unconstitutional Texas six-week abortion ban, with its bounty hunter-type enforcement. The ban is causing great hardship for thousands of persons, especially women of color, low-income and marginalized persons in Texas, where one in every ten American women of child-bearing age lives. Now there are two more of these ugly bans: in Idaho and Oklahoma. Clinics in other states are overburdened with patients who can afford to travel great distances to obtain abortion care.
Just this past year legislatures enacted 108 abortion restrictions, including limitations on medication abortion. These red-state legislatures also adopted bills restricting voting access, politicizing the administration of elections, and other bills that would require discriminatory policies against LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially targeting transgender youth. (For an update on abortion laws in the states as of May 3, go to State Bans on Abortion Throughout Pregnancy | Guttmacher Institute )
The Republican party has made abortion rights an organizing cause for decades, supported by millions of dollars from conservative religiously affiliated organizations. Legislation and litigation are promoted by a network of right-wing legal advocacy groups that have pushed hundreds of anti-reproductive rights bills in state legislatures and in Congress. Nonetheless, polling consistently shows that anywhere between 55 and 70 percent of the public support abortion in all or most instances. It is ironic that while right-wing ideologues are trying to reverse a half-century of abortion rights in the U.S., other nations around the world like Ireland, Poland, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina are liberalizing their restrictive laws.
Reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) will schedule a vote for Wednesday, May 11 or thereabouts. The barrier that abortion-rights supporters must overcome is the 60 votes required to end a filibuster. The Senate is split 50-50 between the parties. Hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of reproductive rights advocates have told lawmakers that Roe must remain the law of the land. NOW and our colleagues in the larger community of reproductive rights and health advocates have worked for decades to protect women’s abortion rights – which now appear to be in dire threat.
But, we believe, with persistence and organizing, reproductive rights advocates can ultimately win. You can watch the Senate vote at U.S. Senate: Floor Webcast
WE NEED EVERYONE TO CALL BOTH THEIR SENATORS AND URGE THEM TO VOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE WOMEN’S HEALTH PROTECTION ACT.
Call both your U.S. Senators to deliver this urgent message:
- Please vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Women’s lives and health depend upon having access to safe and legal abortion.
- Overturning Roe v. Wade will create chaos by having most states ban abortion and the rest overwhelmed with increasing numbers of persons urgently seeking care.
- Banning abortion leads to parents’ reduced ability to support families and higher rates of children living in poverty
- We cannot turn the clock back to before 1973. Women’s abortion rights are essential to their success in life and are essential to women’s bodily autonomy and a fundamental right to control their reproductive lives.
The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121; a listing of phone numbers for senators appears here U.S. Senate: Senators . You can also go to the senators’ websites and enter a message or obtain their in-state office phone numbers and call those numbers to deliver your message. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT TO CALL AS PHONE LINES MAY BE OVERWHELMED.
- I urge you to support the Women’s Health Protection Act when it comes to the Senate floor next week. Abortion care is a fundamental human right that is essential to women’s social and economic participation and everyone’s right to determine their lives.
- It is time for Congress to protect abortion rights and access under the Women’s Health Protection Act. Passing the WHPA is a critical step toward creating a world where every person is assured the right to make the best health care decisions for themselves, their families and their lives.
- Hundreds of state-level laws restricting and banning abortion have made care extremely difficult to access for many people, despite constitutional protections. The right to abortion is not real if only some people can access it.
- The 117th Congress must stand with people and communities fighting for racial, economic, and reproductive justice and commit to protecting the right of every person to make their own decisions about their bodies, free from discrimination and political inference.