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As SCOTUS Agrees to Hear New Challenge To Roe, Congress Must Act to Protect Abortion Access following Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

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Pasadena, CA, October 27, 2020 | comments

Following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, sponsors of the Women’s Health Protection Act, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), are calling for a vote on their legislation to protect access to abortion, regardless of where you live. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (H.R. 2975/S.1645) would enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade into Federal law, establishing the right of healthcare providers to provide, and patients to receive, abortion care free from medically unnecessary restrictions. The legislation is an antidote to states that pass arbitrary restrictions on abortion access like requiring patients receive an ultrasound prior to abortion care, or mandatory waiting periods, or requiring clinic hallways to be a certain width. The need for this protection has become more urgent this week as the Supreme Court announced their intention to consider Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortions, a law seen as a direct challenge to Roe. The bill’s House and Senate sponsors released the following statements:

“Abortion access is healthcare, and healthcare is a right regardless of what zip code you live in,” said Rep. Chu. “But that right is under serious threat now that Amy Coney Barret has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Justice Barrett has called Roe v. Wade an ‘erroneous decision’ and signed onto an ad calling it ‘barbaric’ – something she neglected to disclose to the Senate. There is no question that her opposition to a woman’s right to make informed choices about her own body was a key factor in Republicans rushing her confirmation just a week ahead of an election. And now, the Court is poised to act as they consider Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortion, something that flies in the face of almost a half century of Supreme Court precedent. But we are not powerless nor are we resigned to watching as state after state restricts abortion access. The Women’s Health Protection Act has 216 cosponsors in the House, making it the most supported pro-choice legislation in Congress, and it would stop the arbitrary attacks on abortion access. It is time we take the decision about our own bodies out of the hands of unelected judges. Passing a federal standard that assures a right is a right no matter what state you live in is the only way to protect a woman’s right to choose from an unrepresentative court. WHPA is that standard, and the time for action is now.”

“Right now in states across this country, Roe v. Wade is under attack and millions of women are at risk of losing the freedom to make their own health decisions without interference from politicians playing doctor,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “Now more than ever, we must stand up to these extreme threats to women’s constitutionally-protected reproductive rights and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Every woman, regardless of where she lives, should have the freedom to make her own, personal decisions about her health care, her family and her body. Our legislation will protect the reproductive health rights and freedoms of American women.”

“Extremist lawmakers viciously attacking women’s reproductive rights in statehouses across the nation have a new ally on the Supreme Court in Judge Amy Coney Barrett – and a new majority to execute their radical anti-choice agenda,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “The Women’s Health Protection Act has never been more urgent or more necessary. These demagogic and draconian laws hurt women and families as they make personal and difficult medical decisions. This issue is about more than women’s health care, it’s about human rights—all our rights. The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure women have access to safe and legal abortions, regardless of their ZIP code. It reaffirms what the Supreme Court and a majority of Americans have declared: women have a constitutional right to control their own body and make their own choices, without abhorrent political overreach that has no basis is medical science or the Constitution.”

“With the expedient confirmation of Justice Barrett Monday, it is clear women remain at risk due to the extreme views of this conservative Court,” said Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11).  “As a separate, but very much equal branch of government, Congress must take this next step to protect women, particularly women of color, from interference in their health care decisions. We must continue to safeguard a woman’s right to choose and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act now.”

“The confirmation of Justice Barrett puts women’s access to legal abortion at greater risk than ever,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21). “That is why we need to pass the Women's Health Protection Act now in order to guarantee that women, not their governors or state legislators, will be fully in charge of their own bodies.”  

“Justice Barrett’s academic writings, court decisions, and public advocacy reveal a legal view that the U.S. Constitution does not protect an individual’s personal liberty to make decisions about their reproductive health,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “And when access to reproductive healthcare is burdened, when clinics are closed, and when healthcare is unaffordable, the consequences fall hardest on Black, Indigenous and people of color, rural communities and people living in poverty.  With so much on the line, we urge Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to remove barriers to accessing abortion care. The stakes are too high for us to back down.” 

"Judicial power, like every branch of government, needs checks and balances. We, the people, are that check and balance. There are 83 million young voters in this country who will not be silenced nor see their rights traded away by politicians. Roe v. Wade was never enough — and if it’s overturned, we’ll keep demanding more and better until we have the abortion access we deserve,” said Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “We will enshrine real, full, and free abortion access as a right and strike down coverage bans and forced parental involvement in all reproductive health care decisions. We will support the Women’s Health Protection (WHPA) Act and EACH Woman Act and finally repeal the cruel and racist Hyde Amendment. No matter which direction the Court leans, we will fight to keep power where it belongs: in the hands of the people. We will do what it takes to reshape the systems that have never served us until all young people — and all people — can thrive.”

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