Call Senate NOW – Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has filed cloture on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (WHPA), setting up a critical Senate vote when senators return on Monday, February 28th. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), 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:
A ruling by the arch-conservative U.S. Supreme Court in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be announced this spring and could ban abortion after 15 weeks gestation, overturning the 24-week framework of Roe v. Wade which has stood for nearly a half-century. Potentially ignoring the long-standing precedent of Constitutional protection of the right to obtain an abortion, the Court could also overturn Roe, banning abortion completely, which the Dobbs case also requests.
If the Roe does fall, half of the states will 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.
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. Clinics in other states are over-burdened with those Texas patients who can afford to travel great distances to obtain abortion care. Already, nine states have introduced copycat laws of the Texas six-week abortion ban.
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.
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 between 60 and 70 percent of the public supports 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.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer has scheduled a vote for Monday, February 28th, most likely in the afternoon. More than 220 organizations have signed a letter from the reproductive rights advocacy community that was sent to the Senate. Scores of other major organizations and countless prominent individuals have told lawmakers that Roe must remain the law of the land.
The House passed the WHPA on September 24TH by a 218-211 vote; the Senate version, S. 1975, has 47 co-sponsors and the goal is to pass a motion to proceed, allowing a vote on the merits of the bill. The action on February 28 is historic; activists have worked ten years to bring this critically important measure to a floor vote – just as we are expecting a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade
But 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.
Please call both your U.S. Senators to deliver this urgent message: Please take action to allow a floor vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act on Monday. I will be watching how you vote.
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 on Monday. 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.
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