House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a response to an unprecedented onslaught of state-level restrictions on abortion providers that has restricted women’s access to reproductive health care.
The WHPA would prohibit any state or federal laws that single out abortion providers for restrictions that don’t apply to similar medical services, such as TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion provider) laws, forced ultrasounds, waiting periods, or restrictions on medication abortion.
TRAP laws have become common policy proposals in state legislatures dominated by anti-choice lawmakers, who insist that the unnecessary laws are meant to ensure the safety of those seeking an abortion.
Legal abortion procedures have a “very low complication rate,” as a recent study notes, with less than 2 percent of all studied abortions resulting in complications within six weeks of the initial procedure.
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Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), along with Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), reintroduced the bill the day before the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when House Republicans will also try to pass an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban bill.
This is not the first time the WHPA and a national 20-week ban have been in the news at the same time, sharply illustrating where each party stands on abortion rights. Last year, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) unsuccessfully tried to get the Senate to vote on the WHPA in exchange for a vote on his 20-week ban.
The WHPA almost certainly won’t get a vote in this Republican Congress either. The 20-week ban is very likely to get a Senate vote this time around, but it’s not clear whether it has the votes pass and head to President Obama’s desk.
Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it that far.
“The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure that every woman in America can exercise her constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion care without interference from the devious tactics of politicians bent on substituting their judgment for hers,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.