Public support for abortion is clear — yet anti-abortion rights House members continue to vote against the will of their constituents
WASHINGTON — Today, in the first Congressional vote since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the U.S. House of Representatives once again passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), as well as the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act.
Introduced by U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), WHPA would establish a statutory right to provide and receive abortion care across the nation. Since the court eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion, this legislation would help protect the right to abortion throughout the country by guarding against state abortion bans and restrictions.
The Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, introduced by Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-7), with original co-sponsors Reps. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08), reaffirms a patient’s right to travel out of state to get an abortion. This is a necessary effort, since abortion bans are currently in effect in at least 11 states, and anti-abortion rights groups and lawmakers are already working on legislation to hold people hostage in their states by passing laws that would block them from crossing state lines to access abortion care. This is a stepping stone in their ultimate goal to ban abortion nationwide.
Since the court’s ruling, multiple polls have shown overwhelming support for federal legislation that protects abortion rights. Despite widespread support, almost every Republican member of the House of Representatives voted against both pieces of legislation.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Following the Supreme Court overturning of Roe, we are facing a national health care crisis, and we need leaders at all levels of government to meet this moment. Despite Republican lawmaker attempts to block these bills, we are grateful that our sexual and reproductive health champions in the House once again took action for abortion rights. It’s unconscionable, but frankly not surprising, that anti-abortion rights lawmakers continue to defy their constituents’ will and oppose legislation that would help safeguard their access to essential health care. That includes the freedom to travel across state lines for care without fear of criminalization. Each person — not politicians — should have the power to decide if and when to start or expand their family. The members of Congress who voted against these bills are standing on the wrong side of the American people and history. This November, voters will remember.”
Last September, the House first passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in response to Texas’s radical abortion ban. In May, anti-abortion rights senators blocked the passage of WHPA in the Senate for the second time. And as state lawmakers discuss the possibility of banning travel for abortion out of state, the question becomes: How will they enforce these laws? Because of discrimination and bias, this surveillance would hurt Black, Latino, Indigenous, low-income, and LGBTQ+ communities the most. Criminalization opens the door to lawmakers reaching inside private lives under the pretense of investigation.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.