New Washington Post Op-ed: Congress Can Preserve Abortion Rights
In a new opinion piece published in the Washington Post, Neal Kumar Katyal, points out that reproductive rights need not depend on the U.S Supreme Court—because Congress can protect these rights by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Katyal is a law professor at Georgetown University and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States. Of the Women’s Health Protection Act, Katyal wrote:
“The rights would now be guaranteed by Congress, making it impossible for the court to trim them back. The only way states could try is to file separate lawsuits seeking judicial review of such legislation, arguing that Congress’ law is unconstitutional because Congress lacks the power to enact it. Such an argument has about zero chance of success…
Since 1973, the questions about reproductive rights have been dominated by the court, not Congress. But now we have an opportunity to recalibrate the balance and guarantee reproductive justice for Americans in every state. We don’t need the court to protect these rights. We just need a majority vote in Congress.”
WHPA in the News, Following Announcement from SCOTUS
On May 17th, the Supreme Court announced it will hear a case that presents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. As the implications of the announcement became clear, news outlets around the country turned to the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 as the legislative solution to the current crisis in abortion rights and access in the U.S.
SALON: “There’s already a bill in existence that, if passed into law, could stop the push to overturn Roe in its tracks.”
Coalition members URGE and the Center for Reproductive Rights spoke to Salon about how WHPA would protect the right to access abortion care free from bans and restrictions. Preston Mitchum, Policy Director at URGE, described the key feature of the bill: “It creates that statutory right [to abortion] automatically.” And Jackie Blank, Federal Legislative Strategist with the Center spoke to the moment saying, “this is a bill that addresses exactly the types of bans and restrictions like the 15 weeks case that’s in Mississippi.” Read the article on Salon.com.
THE AMERICAN PROSPECT: “In this year’s session alone, over 500 anti-abortion bills have been proposed in state legislatures, with 70 of them being enacted so far.”
In an article examining Mississippi’s 15-week ban and the wave of anti-abortion laws restricting access across the U.S., coalition members Abortion Access Front, Guttmacher Institute, URGE, and the Center for Reproductive Rights spoke to the current attacks on reproductive rights and the importance of WHPA. “It’s a pretty critical bill,” said Elizabeth Nash, Principal Policy Associate on State Issues for the Guttmacher Institute. “The Supreme Court’s announcement that they’re taking the Mississippi case could be a signal to Congress that they need to pay attention.” Read the article in the American Prospect.
Members of Congress Announce Plans to Introduce WHPA 2021!
WHPA co-leads announced May 19 that they will be reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) in coming weeks. The announcement came two days after the Supreme Court said it will hear a Mississippi case that presents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) released the following statement:
“This week’s news out of the Supreme Court was an urgent call to action: reproductive rights are under direct, imminent attack. Our bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, would protect against unconstitutional laws like Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban – laws that attack people’s freedom to make decisions about their own bodies and which directly contradict decades of Supreme Court precedent,” said the Members. “Our legislation reaffirms what the Supreme Court established fifty years ago: access to abortion is a fundamental right. We look forward to formally reintroducing our legislation with the support of our colleagues in the coming weeks.”
Boston Review Op-ed: “WHPA represents a distinctly intersectional approach”
In a recent opinion piece published in the Boston Review, Rachel Rebouché, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research at Temple University Beasley School of Law, wrote in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act.
Rebouché wrote that WHPA is remarkable, “because of the commitments to reproductive justice that it articulates and draws together. WHPA represents a distinctly intersectional approach; it acknowledges that not all people who become pregnant identify as women. The bill embraces the idea that abortion care is a public health issue deeply connected with economic and racial justice. These acknowledgements are major steps forward. The bill does not merely aim to codify Roe, but also foregrounds the lessons learned since the decision.”
On Wednesday, February 12, the Act for Women campaign showed up in full force to support WHPA! Thank you for filling the hearing room, submitting testimony for the record, and mobilizing your networks to support this bill. Your voices were heard.
This was the first hearing on proactive legislation to protect abortion access in the House in nearly thirty years. Your hard work and dedication to reproductive rights got us to this historic moment and together we will move WHPA forward in 2020!
(Photos by Cal Cary & Dayna Smith/ImageSmith Media)
Voices for our rights: Holly Alvarado
“I am a decorated campaign veteran who was taught Geneva Conventions, NATO rules of engagement and trusted to be competent in my abilities enough to teach them to future Airmen. Yet, when making a decision over my own life I was not trusted to know what was best for myself. Several state laws had made that clear to me. The decision to continue or end a pregnancy is a healthcare decision that cannot be made by one individual for another individual.
I cannot reconcile that our government trusted me to hold weapons of protection for our country and serve as a respected member of our armed services, but could not trust me to make the right decision over my own body.”
Holly Alvarado, Advocate
Voices for our rights: Dr. Yashica Robinson
“Decades of medically unnecessary restrictions have taken their toll in Alabama. It is not unusual for patients to travel up to 8 hours to reach us because so many other providers have been forced to close.
Abortion is healthcare. The Women’s Health Protection Act would bring needed federal protections for my patients and safeguard their rights.”
Dr. Yashica Robinson, Medical Director, Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives
Voices for our rights: Nancy Northup
“Forty-seven years ago, the Supreme Court recognized in Roe that the right of personal liberty guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment includes the decision by a woman to end her pregnancy. As the Court would later explain, it is the promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty that the government may not enter.
[WHPA is] a meaningful, concrete step to ensuring that Roe is real for all women.”
Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights