For Immediate Release: Friday, September 24, 2021
Rep. Cuellar was the lone Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote against critical legislation to safeguard the federal right to abortion
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) during a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. WHPA would protect the federal right to abortion throughout the United States. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of WHPA earlier this week and since the legislation has passed the House, it will now move to the Senate.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement:
“Rep. Cuellar has shown his true colors once again. His vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act makes clear that he has absolutely no regard for his constituents’ fundamental freedoms. Reproductive freedom is under attack across the country and in Rep. Cuellar’s home state of Texas, access has been effectively cut off. Instead of fighting for Texans’ freedom to make their own decisions about their families and futures, he threw them under the bus.
The threat to safe, legal abortion looms larger than ever and voters are looking to their elected leaders to fight back. It is past time for the people of Texas’ 28th Congressional District to have a leader who will fight for them, rather than impose an out-of-touch, dangerous political agenda that puts them at risk.”
WHPA protects the federal right to abortion should Roe v. Wade fall, creating a right for healthcare providers to provide abortion care and a corresponding right for people to receive that care, free from bans and medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and block access to care.
Rep. Cuellar’s vote against WHPA joins a host of other votes he has taken to undermine reproductive freedom, including voting in support of the Trump-era domestic gag rule that attacked the Title X family planning program.This past summer, he was also the only Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee to support the discriminatory, anti-choice Hyde Amendment which bans coverage of abortion care for those who receive their health insurance through Medicaid, as well as related abortion coverage bans. NARAL has endorsed human rights attorney Jessica Cisneros in her race to unseat Rep. Cuellar.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional SB 8, a vigilante-enforced ban on abortion care, before many people even know they are pregnant. This draconian ban joins over 90 other restrictions on abortion access that have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on December 1. This case is a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly threatens the future of Roe v. Wade. The direct threat to Roe, coupled with the unrelenting attacks on abortion access at the state level, underscore the urgent need for WHPA.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.