To Stop Abortion Bans, Congress Must Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act Now 

BACKGROUND 

THE ISSUE: We are in an urgent situation currently with the anti-abortion rights majority on the Supreme Court failing to block implementation of a clearly unconstitutional abortion ban in Texas. SB 8 prohibits an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, institutes a draconian vigilante program where anyone can sue persons aiding an individual seeking an abortion and offers a $10,000 bounty. Reportedly, there are half dozen or more states considering adoption of similar bans and bounties.  

A Texas District Court judge on Friday granted Planned Parenthood of Texas and other health care providers a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life, barring them from suing health care workers under the new abortion ban law. 

Most persons are not aware of being pregnant at six weeks and would only become aware later when obtaining an abortion would be impossible.  With restrictions like this, access to abortion care is very limited, especially for people with low incomes and people of color. Once again, people seeking abortions are back fighting for an essential right recognized nearly a half century ago with Roe v. Wade. The best way to protect our right to abortion care by making the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) the law of the land. 

WHY IT MATTERS: The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would place essential provisions of Roe v. Wade in federal statues, thus ensuring a right to abortion before fetal viability with exceptions to preserve the health and life of the woman. WHPA would prohibit state-level bans that prohibit abortion access before the fetal viability, usually the 24th week of pregnancy.    

WHPA will not only guarantee peace of mind for those seeking abortion care, but it will also:    

  • Recognize bodily autonomy   
  • Create rights for surrounding health care professionals offering abortion care   
  • Eliminate medically unnecessary restrictions such as mandatory ultrasounds and waiting periods, and two-trip requirements   

THE STATUS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has vowed to bring the Women’s Health Protection Act to a vote soon. WHPA is endorsed by 206 members in the House of Representatives and 48 in the Senate. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) is sponsor of HR. 3755 and Sen. Richard Blumenthal D-CT) is sponsoring S. 1875.  Overcoming a threatened filibuster in the Senate will require 60 votes; the Senate is currently evenly split between democrats and republicans. 

It is important to assure that all democrats vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act as there is very slim margin between democratic and republican members – who are generally opposed to women’s abortion rights. Additionally, the legislation faces an uphill battle as it moves to the Senate floor, where it may become stuck in limbo due to the filibuster. Join us as we urge senators to end the filibuster and pass WHPA to protect reproductive rights in this country.   

TAKE ACTION  

WHAT CAN I DO? To get this bill passed, we must mobilize! Call your member of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to vote YES on WHPA when it’s time to vote.   

HOW DO I DO IT? Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be connected to your local Representative’s or Senator’s office. Here is a directory of current members of Congress and a directory of current Senators. If you can call during the time when Senators are home in your state, you can contact one of their several in-state offices. Just check their Senate websites to find contact information.  

WHAT DO I SAY?    

I am calling on [NAME OF MEMBER] to vote in favor of the Women’s Health Protection Act. This act is vital as it reframes abortion as healthcare. The Women’s Health Protection Act would incorporate in federal law key provisions of the Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court decision. Because we have a majority of Supreme Court justices who reportedly do not support women’s right to decide to have an abortion, it important to act now. Without that essential protection we will continue to see a stripping of access to abortion care in Republican-controlled states.  [NAME OF MEMBER] has the power to continue to create progress in our country for ALL. Be on the right side of history.   

SPREAD THE WORD  

Contacting your Representatives and Senators is just a start. Help us keep the conversation going by spreading the word on social media and urging others to take action. Below are some sample social media posts you can use:  

  • Our civil liberties and reproductive rights continue to be threatened every day. Pass the #WHPA now. #ActForAbortionAccess, vote yes and protect #RoevWade!  
  • Each day that the #WomensHealthProtectionAct is not passed, people seeking abortion care are losing their constitutional rights all over the U.S. We must urge our Congress to take action now and pass #WHPA.   
  • Dear [@Senator or Representative’s Social Media Handle], listen to your voters and pass the #WomensHealthProtectionAct!   

You may also join us as we plan to mobilize and protest the passing of SB 8 in Texas. Connect with your local NOW chapter and follow us on social media for more information about our upcoming reproductive rights protests.   

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES