For Immediate Release: May 5, 2022
Washington, DC — Following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion making clear that the Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion, Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that the U.S. Senate will once again vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation to safeguard the right to abortion. In the last vote on this bill, which provides 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, every single Republican Senator voted ‘no.’
With the leaked Supreme Court opinion-making very clear that the Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in a matter of weeks, there is no time to waste in passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.
Meanwhile, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a bill that they claim codifies Roe v. Wade, but would only protect a dramatically restricted version of the constitutional right to abortion. Their version would even more heavily erode access to abortion than what was done to narrow Roe in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. It would allow bans like Texas’s vigilante ban on abortion and medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion to stand. These senators who purport to support reproductive freedom have so far refused to support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA).
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement in response:
“The Supreme Court is poised to end the consitutional right to abortion and we know bans and restrictions on abortion are already harming communities marginalized by our healthcare system, including women, people of color, people with lower incomes, LGBTQ people, and those in rural communities.
Against this backdrop, Leader Schumer and the Senate Democrats are showing up for reproductive freedom once again. The contrast with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle couldn’t be clearer. When they last had the opportunity, every single GOP Senator voted against this bill to safeguard the right to abortion, signaling their willingess to let the Court overturn Roe v. Wade and paving the way for 28 states to ban abortion. Many of these are the same Republican Senators who voted to confirm the extreme right-wing Supreme Court justices who are now ready and waiting to overturn Roe.
Making matters worse, Senators Collins and Murkowski are trying to muddy the waters by pushing a flimsy bill that claims to codify the right to abortion into law but actually weakens the protections we have under current law. If these Senators truly cared about safeguarding reproductive freedom in the face of an unprecedented assault from the Supreme Court, they could vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a bill that actually secures the right to abortion against medically unnecessary bans and restrictions. Instead, they’re engaging in political theater and making misleading claims about what WHPA is and does.”
In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed WHPA in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas’ vigilante-enforced abortion ban (SB 8). Shortly before the House vote, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of this critical legislation. The Senate voted on the bill in February and is scheduled to vote again on the bill next week.
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, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—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 legal abortion.