Today, June 16, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021.
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.
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!
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
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.”