Today, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act for the first time.
As the bill heads to the Senate, President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health Dr. Jamila Perritt responds:
“It is a huge day for advancing reproductive health, rights and justice as the House of Representatives voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). While Texans are still under the dangerous restrictions of S.B. 8 because of the failure of our courts to intervene, the House is taking steps to protect abortion access at the national level, a move that is desperately needed. We hope that this is just the beginning of many measures taken to expand access to abortion care for everyone and improve maternal health outcomes.
“As a provider of abortion care, I know that where you live, your race or ethnicity, or your socioeconomic status should not determine the type of health care you have access to, and this includes abortion care. Abortion care, like all pregnancy care, is time sensitive and should be available when you need it, where you want it. As state legislatures continue to make abortion harder, and in some cases completely impossible, to access we need federal protections in place. For our families and communities to thrive, we must be able to exercise autonomy and dignity and have the ability to make deeply personal decisions such as whether or not to continue a pregnancy. While WHPA is a great start in making this reality possible, its legal basis is the floor of what we all need. We need to push to pass broader legislative protections, like the EACH Act and HEAL Act, to ensure all people have real access to the health care they need, including abortion care, no matter their source of insurance or immigration status. Together, these steps will start to bridge the gap in inequities of accessing abortion and reproductive health care felt most by Black people, Indigenous people, people who are immigrants, and people of color.
It would be irresponsible of the Senate to not act as quickly as possible to pass WHPA when access to abortion is so imminently at stake.
“We are approaching the Supreme Court oral arguments of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in just a couple of months, a case concerning a clearly unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, and a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. It would be irresponsible of the Senate to not act as quickly as possible to pass WHPA when access to abortion is so imminently at stake. In Texas, S.B. 8 is taking its toll on communities of color, communities that already have worse outcomes as a result of systemic racism, structural inequities and white supremacy practices. I thank the House for standing against these inhumane abortion restrictions and urge the Senate to quickly do the same, while continuing to push for true reproductive justice by championing bills like the EACH Act, HEAL Act, and the Build Back Better Act.”