WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) who led 46 members of the Senate Democratic caucus in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023, federal legislation to guarantee access to abortion, everywhere across the country and restore the right to comprehensive reproductive health care for millions of Americans.
The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which repealed Roe v. Wade. This decision has stripped access to abortion care for millions of Americans and denied individuals the freedom to make their own health care decisions. Since the Dobbs decision, 14 states have already implemented near-total abortion bans, leaving one in three American women without access to safe, legal abortion care. Additionally, state legislatures across the country have introduced hundreds of bills to include medically unnecessary restrictions that limit access to abortion care.
The Women’s Health Protection Act creates federal rights for patients and providers to protect abortion access and creates federal protections against medically unnecessary restrictions that undermine Americans’ access to health care and intrude upon personal decision-making.
“Republicans have packed the courts with right-wing justices hell bent on banning abortions nationwide – from the Supreme Court on down. We need the Women’s Health Protection Act to defend against these attacks and safeguard access to reproductive care,” said Murphy.
“The Women’s Health Protection Act would reverse the death sentence handed down to American women when the Supreme Court overturned fifty years of precedent in Roe,” said Blumenthal. “The heart of the Women’s Health Protection Act is reproductive justice – the fundamental right to safely choose if or when to have children, and the freedom to make that choice no matter who you are or where you live. It will reverse the draconian and devastating bans and restrictions that fall on all women, and disproportionately on Black and Latina people, individuals with lower incomes, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and so many others who face barriers to care. This issue is about more than health care; it is about women’s rights, individual rights, and human rights.”
Following the Dobbs decision in June of last year, millions of Americans are unable to make their own health care decisions. Patients are being denied or delayed access to necessary and potentially life-saving treatment, including for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage management, because of new legal risks to providers. And, the harms caused by these abortion restrictions fall heaviest on populations that already experience inequities, including people with low incomes, people of color, immigrants, young people, people with disabilities, and those living in rural and other medically underserved areas.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would:
· Prohibit states from imposing restrictions that jeopardize access to abortion earlier in pregnancy, including many of the state-level restrictions in place prior to Dobbs, such as arbitrary waiting periods, medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasounds, or requirements to provide medically inaccurate information.
· Ensure that later in pregnancy, states cannot limit access to abortion if it would jeopardize the life or health of the mother.
· Protect the ability to travel out of state for an abortion, which has become increasingly common in recent years.