Today, Physicians for Reproductive Health’s President and CEO Dr. Jamila Perritt is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on The Constitution in a hearing titled “Protecting Roe: Why We Need the Women’s Health Protection Act.” Alongside WeTestify abortion storyteller Tohan and Chancellor’s Professor of Law Michele B. Goodwin, Dr. Perritt is testifying in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act and its necessity for the health and wellbeing of communities across the country.
Physicians for Reproductive Health also submitted written testimony from almost 1000 health care providers across the country to the subcommittee in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act.
The following is from Dr. Jamila Perritt’s statement submitted to the subcommittee:
“The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), is a critical step to eliminating existing disparities in access to abortion. Abortion has been legal in the United States for nearly fifty years, but legality has never meant that abortion is accessible. Today, in large parts of our country, abortion is already out of reach for many people. As a physician, I find it unconscionable that politicians and pundits paint abortion as a hopelessly divisive issue when in fact it is a deeply personal decision rooted in autonomy, dignity, self-determination, health, and well-being.
“Abortion is extremely safe and none of the arbitrary barriers I just mentioned make it any safer. As a health care provider, it is abhorrent to me that the laws restricting abortion are passed under the pretense of making abortion safe when they actually do the opposite.
“Restrictions on abortion care have far reaching consequences both deepening existing inequities and worsening health outcomes for pregnant people and people giving birth. When abortion is difficult or impossible to access, complicated health conditions can worsen and even result in death. It is disingenuous for politicians to claim that they care about our nation’s ongoing maternal health crisis and in the same breath attempt to limit access to abortion care through unnecessary regulation and restriction. These issues are one and the same.
“It is undeniable: we have a two-tiered system for reproductive health care in the United States and it is getting worse. The stakes are as high as they have ever been. We are only beginning to emerge from an ongoing pandemic that has disproportionately harmed communities of color and we continue to reckon with racial injustice and the systemic killing of Black people by police. These measures to restrict and criminalize abortion are yet another form of the reproductive oppression that people of color have been subject to for centuries.
“The time for this subcommittee to act is now. I urge members of this subcommittee to take this important step and support the Women’s Health Protection Act before access to abortion care deteriorates further. The lives of my patients and my colleagues’ patients, as well as our communities, depend on it.”