Members of Congress Introduce Bill to Protect Abortion Access

New research shows a majority of voters support the Women's Health Protection Act.

June 8, 2021

Lydia Stuckey


The bill arrives just weeks after the Supreme Court announces it will hear an abortion ban case challenging Roe v. Wade

(Washington, DC) Today, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)—a bill that would protect the right to access abortion throughout the country—was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). WHPA would create a federal statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care, and a corresponding right for their patients to receive that care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care and impede access.

The introduction of WHPA comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case next term that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. The case—filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and appealed to the Court by the state of Mississippi—challenges the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, the above members of Congress immediately announced their intention to reintroduce WHPA. This bill would protect the right to abortion under federal law, even if Roe were overturned.

WHPA is being introduced in the 117th Congress with 176 original co-sponsors in the House and at least 45 in the Senate – the highest number of original co-sponsors ever for this bill. During the 116th Congress, WHPA earned 260 co-sponsors, more than in any previous Congress. The Center has been supporting the bill since its first introduction in 2013, when it had 132 co-sponsors in the House and 35 in the Senate. Since then, it has garnered more support each term.

Also today, a poll conducted earlier this year by Hart Research Associates was released, showing that a majority (61%) of voters believe abortion rights across the country should be protected with a new federal law like WHPA. Support is especially strong among Black voters (79%) and other voters of color.

This poll sends a clear message to Congress: the majority of voters want abortion protected under federal law,” said Nancy Northup (she/her), President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We cannot wait any longer. If Roe falls, many states will immediately take action to make abortion a crime. Even now, with constitutional protections in place, state legislators have made it impossible to access abortion in the South and Midwest. Especially for Black people and other people of color who already face barriers to health care. This bill—WHPA—would protect against the hundreds of state restrictions and bans that have pushed abortion out of reach. This is an issue of equal access, everywhere.”

“This new polling reconfirms what young people and people of color have been saying for years: We want abortion care that is free from medically unnecessary restrictions that shame, stigmatize and deny us timely, confidential abortion care,” said Danielle Hurd-Wilson (they/them), Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “Each of us should be able to make our own decisions about whether and when to become a parent. Period. It’s time to listen to the people most affected by reproductive oppression about what we need for our communities to thrive. The Women’s Health Protection Action will bring us a step closer to that that goal.”