Supported by a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations committed to reproductive health, rights, and justice, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act. The vote to “protect the right to abortion across the country” is the first legislation of its kind that is specifically designed to protect the right to abortion access nationwide.
The bill, H.R. 3755, passed in a 218-211 vote. It will counteract abortion bans such as the S.B. 8 in Texas as well as one in Mississippi’s, which will be heard by the Supreme Court this year.
“The House has stepped in where the courts have failed us,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said. “This historic vote is the first time legislation has advanced in Congress to establish a right to abortion. Now the Senate must act or the current crisis on abortion access in Texas could reverberate across large swaths of the nation.”
According to a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates, a majority of voters (61 percent) want a nationwide federal law protecting abortion rights to override restrictive abortion laws at the state level.
“At a time when states like Texas have heightened attacks on reproductive justice, it is imperative that the federal government steps in to defend abortion care across our nation,” Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, said. “The Women’s Health Protection Act is a crucial step toward making abortion access a reality.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives by; Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). As of current, the bill has 47 co-sponsors in the Senate.
“Along with ending abortion coverage bans and ensuring access for young people who need abortion, passing WHPA gets us closer to a day when our decisions are truly our own,” Inez McGuire said.