June 09, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin Join Colleagues to Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Guarantee Equal Access to Abortion, Everywhere


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined 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) in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion, everywhere. The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in a case that directly threatens fifty years of precedent protecting access to abortion, and comes as states like Texas continue to pass anti-choice laws.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed a person’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions, making clear that the government has no place getting in between individuals and their doctors,” said Senator Duckworth. “But for decades, conservative lawmakers have worked to whittle down that constitutionally-protected right. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act, so that every person in this country has equal access to their constitutionally-protected rights, including all of their family planning options.”

“When there is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and individuals’ reproductive rights, we must act,” said Durbin. “The Women’s Health Protection Act sends a clear message that people have the right to make their own decisions about when and how they will have a family regardless of where they live.”

“With the Supreme Court set to consider a direct attack on Roe and as emboldened and extremist lawmakers viciously attack women’s reproductive rights in statehouses across the nation, the Women’s Health Protection Act has never been more urgent or more necessary,” Senator Blumenthal said. “These demagogic and draconian laws hurt women and families as they make personal and difficult medical decisions. This issue is about more than health care, it’s about human rights—all our rights. I’m proud to join this historic coalition of lawmakers in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act and look forward to taking the next step towards seeing it passed into law by holding a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee on the bill next week.”

WHPA has 48 total co-sponsors in the Senate and 176 total co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

WHPA guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion—and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services—free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship.

From Roe v. Wade in 1973 to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized abortion as a constitutional right. However, anti-abortion advocates have worked for years at the state-level to pass laws meant to undermine or eliminate access to abortion care. In the last decade, state lawmakers have pushed through nearly 500 restrictive laws that make abortion difficult and, sometimes, impossible to access. Just this year, four states have passed bans on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, before many people even know they’re pregnant. Lawmakers in Arkansas and Oklahoma attempted to ban abortion completely. WHPA would stop these attacks and ensure that abortion access first guaranteed under Roe is a reality for everyone, everywhere.

The text of the Senate bill – including the full list of cosponsors – is available here. The text of the House bill – including the full list of cosponsors – is available here.