On Monday, February 28, the Senate took its first-ever vote to enshrine the right to abortion into federal law. It may not have passed this time, but this vote brings us one step closer to realizing a future where all of us have equal access to abortion care, no matter who we are or where we live. The outcome does not reflect the will of the people, and we will continue to advocate for WHPA’s passage.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that on February 28 the U.S. Senate will hold its first-ever vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a bill that would safeguard abortion access from bans and restrictions that make abortion difficult or impossible to access for far too many. By filing cloture on February 17, Senator Schumer took the first procedural step toward a historic vote in the Senate.
On September 29, as part of Reproductive Justice Week of Action, UltraViolet, MoveOn, NARAL, National Council of Jewish Women, MomsRising, and Catholics for Choice delivered 400,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Senate with an urgent message: Vote YES. Pass WHPA.
The petition was delivered after Senate Leadership committed to holding a vote on WHPA just hours after the bill passed the House. In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Lead Sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said:
“Congress must assert its role to protect the constitutional right to abortion. We commend the House on the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act and announce that the Senate will vote on this critical legislation in the very near future.”
A broad group of 118 organizations advocating for reproductive health, rights, and justice have released an open letter to public officials and policymakers asking them to help break down abortion stigma. The letter states:
“It is imperative that public officials and policy makers help to dismantle stigma and express support for people who have abortions in the language they use and the policies they introduce. Accordingly, public officials and policy makers should explicitly use the word abortion and communicate that:
- abortion is essential health care
- abortion is part of the full range of reproductive health services and should not be singled out for burdens
- access to abortion is a human right.”
You can read the letter and see all the groups who have signed on to it HERE.
In an historic victory for abortion rights and access, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) in the first ever congressional vote on proactive, standalone legislation to protect abortion rights.
On the day of the historic vote, members of Congress spoke in favor of WHPA.
“Every woman everywhere has the constitutional right to basic reproductive health care. No matter what state you live in, constitutional rights are not meted out geographically, they are for the country.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
“This bill respects our right and the freedom to make our own choices about our bodies and it leaves those decisions up to us and our doctors…It’s time to put a stop to these attacks once and for all. With today’s historic vote we are ensuring that access to abortion care is a right from Texas to California.” — Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
“Make no mistake, people deserve the freedom to control their own bodies, lives, and futures. We must protect the right to access abortion to ensure that it is available and affordable.” — Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
“What’s at stake in this fight is not some frivolous benefit, it’s the fundamental right of women across the country to decide.” — Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
“Abortion is health care…Women can make the decision to have a child or not have a child. It is about bodily autonomy.” — Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
“America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we cannot truly be a free country unless women have the freedom to make their own health care decisions.” — Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
“Many minority, LGBTQ and low-income women can’t afford to travel and access quality health care. Let’s pass the Women’s Health Protection Act so we can protect women’s freedom in every state.” — Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM)
“This legislation simply ensures that no matter where they live, patients can access abortion services and health care providers can provide this care without medically unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.” — Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Today we got news that a Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) vote is expected Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a momentous development for WHPA–and we need your help to make sure it passes.
All this week, we hope you’ll join the WHPA coalition as we post on social, share action tools, and activate our networks around the vote!
On September 20, the Executive Office of the President issued an official Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) stating that the Biden-Harris Administration “strongly supports” passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). This is a significant development and a show of strength for WHPA!
In the official statement, the White House said, “In the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live.”
With a vote on WHPA expected this week, the time to act is NOW.
On September 2, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the Women’s Health Protection Act will get its first-ever vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming weeks. Her announcement came after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a Texas abortion ban, known as SB 8, ended almost all care in the state. In a statement, Speaker Pelosi wrote,
SB8 delivers catastrophe to women in Texas, particularly women of color and women from low-income communities. Every woman, everywhere has the constitutional right to basic health care…Upon our return, the House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America.
This is momentous development for WHPA–and we need your help to make sure it passes.
The WHPA coalition is releasing a new video to mark today’s WHPA hearing in the U.S. Senate. Catch the hearing live TODAY (Wednesday, June 16) at 2:30 pm ET.
Huge shoutout to WHPA coalition members National Network of Abortion Funds, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Advocates for Youth, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National Women’s Law Center for filming this important video!
The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is federal legislation that works toward a future where all of us are free to make the personal decisions that shape our lives, our futures and our families, without political interference.
When: TODAY, Wednesday, June 16, 2:30 pm
Post on Social Media: #ActForAbortionAccess | #WHPA
Tell your audiences to take action: https://bit.ly/2PdwbzN
Today, the WHPA coalition is joining leaders in Congress and reproductive health, rights and justice advocates to celebrate the reintroduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2021. When passed, WHPA will protect the right to access abortion care across the U.S.
This is a big moment in our fight for abortion rights and access, and lawmakers in Congress need to see our support. Please join the coalition in celebrating WHPA!
WHAT: Twitter Storm
WHEN: 1pm – 2pm ET, Tuesday, June 8, 2021
HASHTAGS: #ActForAbortionAccess | #WHPA
How you can participate: Post on social media and tell your audiences to take action at https://bit.ly/2PdwbzN