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Senators Baldwin and Blumenthal Introduce Legislation to Protect Access to Reproductive Care

Baldwin: “Every woman, regardless of where she lives, deserves the freedom to make her own, personal decisions about her health care, her family, and her body.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One year after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the most significant reproductive rights case since Roe v. WadeWhole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), and Lois Frankel (D-FL-22) introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act. In the year since Whole Woman’s Health was argued – and even in the months since the Court issued its decision, a resounding, historic triumph for women across America and their families – politically motivated attacks against women’s health care have nevertheless increased across the country.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by stopping restrictive regulations and laws – such as those in place in states including Wisconsin and Texas – intended to curtail reproductive health services for women.

“In Wisconsin and across the country, politicians are standing between women and their doctors by enacting laws restricting their reproductive health choices,” said Senator Baldwin. “It is past time to stand up to these radical assaults on women’s rights, which is why I’m championing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Every woman, regardless of where she lives, deserves the freedom to make her own, personal decisions about her health care, her family, and her body.”

“Reproductive rights are under attack in ways we have not seen since Roe v. Wade – in states across the country and in the halls of Congress. That is why we need federal protections to stop anti-choice legislators from obstructing and blocking women from essential health care and reproductive rights,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Requirements and procedures – ranging from ultrasounds and admitting privileges to physical clinic layouts – are not only unwarranted but unconscionable. I am determined to stand with American women and families against state laws that are abhorrent and antithetical to well-established rights.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act has 41 cosponsors in the Senate and 102 cosponsors in the House, led by Representatives Chu, Fudge and Frankel.

The legislation has broad support in Wisconsin with endorsements from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Wisconsin Women’s Network, and the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.

“Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin knows that women are more than capable of making their own personal, medical decisions without consulting their legislator,” said Nicole Safar, Public Policy Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “Regardless of our personal feelings about abortion, we all can agree that a woman deserves freedom to plan her own family, make her own health care decisions and access essential, affordable health care. We applaud Senator Baldwin’s leadership on this important bill and for her commitment to ensuring all women have access to the full range of safe, high quality reproductive health care.”

"For the past six years, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of state political attacks on access to reproductive health care,” said Sara Finger, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. “These political attacks on reproductive health care undermine the ability of women to access the care they need. When women see their health care professionals, this relationship should be grounded in mutual trust and the medical needs of the patient, not on the political agendas of state legislatures. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health happily welcomes the reintroduction of the Women's Health Protection Act as a key initiative to help ensure that women receive the health care that they deserve.

This legislation would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to reproductive health services such as requiring doctors to perform tests and procedures that doctors have deemed unnecessary or preventing doctors from prescribing and dispensing medication as is medically appropriate. Other examples of laws that make it more difficult for a woman to access an abortion include: restrictions on medical training for future abortion providers, requirements concerning the physical layout of clinics where abortions are performed, and forced waiting periods for patients.

Text of the legislation is available here