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By establishing a statutory right to provide and receive abortion care, WHPA would prevent enactment of state-based abortion restrictions and bans

 Today, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation to protect abortion rights in Maine and across the country, with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden voting in favor of the legislation. WHPA establishes a statuatory right to provide and receive abortion care, prohibiting states from implementing out-of-touch and unconstitutional abortion bans and restrictions. 

Today’s vote comes less than one month after Texas’s radical 6-week abortion ban went into effect. If WHPA had been law, it could have blocked the ban. 

Statement from Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund

“While Maine has protected the right to safe, legal abortion since Governor McKernan implemented the Reproductive Privacy Act nearly 30 years ago, we know that a threat to abortion access anywhere is a threat to access everywhere. Since the draconian six-week abortion ban took effect in Texas earlier this month, even providers like Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, who are across the country, have received calls from Texans desperate for help. 

“Maine’s abortion protections are a national model and today’s vote brings our country closer to guaranteeing the reproductive freedom Mainers have had for decades. We thank Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Golden for their continued to support of reproductive rights and urge the Senate to follow suit to protect abortion rights for all residents of the country, no matter your zip code or the political inclinations of your legislature or governor.” 

 

Maine’s abortion laws protect a person’s right to make their own decisions about a pregnancy including guaranteeing public and private insurance coverage of abortion. Carefully crafted over the decades, Maine laws protect a minor’s right to obtain abortion care, ensure that trained, qualified advanced practice clinicians can provide abortion care to their patients, and that providers who refuse to provide abortion care shall not be subject to employment retaliation.  

Abortion restrictions are unpopular:  79% of Americans support the right to safe, legal abortion protected under Roe v. Wade. The vast majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal. Nearly 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime. While passing WHPA would not grant all people equitable access to abortion and other essential health care overnight, it is an essential step to obtaining reproductive freedom.

 

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