Abortion is legal, so why does it always feel like this is not the case? The reality for many Americans is that while abortion is indeed legal, it remains largely inaccessible. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) addresses this at the federal level.
Across the country, barriers such as mandatory waiting periods, counselling, ultrasounds, and two-trip requirements create unnecessary obstacles for people seeking abortions. And we continue to face attacks to sexual and reproductive health care at both the state and federal level.
Anti-abortion state lawmakers have relentlessly passed laws that inhibit accessible abortion care, an issue that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), low-income individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those in rural areas, and people with disabilities. With the hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by the Supreme Court in the coming term, we lie in wait of yet another direct attack on abortion rights.
These attacks make evident that legality is nothing without accessibility. It’s not enough for abortion to remain legal—we need legislation that establishes and protects accessible abortion care.
The WHPA, which was first introduced in 2013 and recently reintroduced in June 2021, would protect the right of health care professionals to provide abortion care and the right of their patients to receive this care without medically unnecessary restrictions. The WHPA would protect abortion rights across the country by establishing the ruling in Roe v. Wade as law, and expand abortion access by eliminating politically-motivated barriers to care. The federal law would bring us one step closer to reproductive, economic, and racial justice.
Eliminating abortion restrictions not only is pivotal in the fight for reproductive justice but also in the fight to maintain bodily autonomy and live happy, healthy lives.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on this legislation this month.
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