The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would make access to abortion care a federally protected right
The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act would prohibit any person acting under color of state law, including private parties, from punishing Americans traveling for reproductive health care, which is protected by the constitutional right to travel
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5) voted to pass two critical pieces of legislation to protect access to abortion and those who are forced to travel to seek care. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), codifies abortion access and guarantees equal access to abortion care nationwide. The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act would prohibit any person acting under the color of state law, including private parties, from punishing and stopping Americans traveling for reproductive health care.
“When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade it overturned freedom for women; freedom to practice our faith and freedom to make decisions for our families,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “Today, House Democrats passed the Women’s Health Protection Act that protects access to abortion and codifies the right to abortion into law. We also voted to protect any person who travels out of state for an abortion or reproductive health care. As Republicans continue their scorched earth campaign against women and freedom, House Democrats will remain relentless in our fight to let every person control their bodies, their choices, and their future.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act
WHPA is led by Congresswomen Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07). It passed the House on September 24, 2021 by a vote of 218 - 211 but fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate when it was brought to the Floor in May. The legislation would establish a statutory right for health care professionals to provide abortion care and the right for their patients to receive care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care. Full text of the bill can be found HERE.
The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act
The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act is led by Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10). If enacted, this legislation would:
- Prohibit any person acting under the color of state law from restricting or impeding:
- a person’s constitutional right to travel across state lines for the purpose of obtaining a lawful abortion,
- a person or entity’s ability to assist an individual in traveling across state lines for the purpose of obtaining a lawful abortion, and
- any health care provider in providing or otherwise enabling lawful abortion services in that state.
- Empower the Attorney General to bring a civil action for declaratory and injunctive relief against any person who is in violation of this law.
- Create a private right of action for any person harmed by a violation of this law to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Full text of the bill can be found HERE.