Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Guarantee Equal Access to Abortion

Legislation would safeguard against anti-abortion laws like Mississippi’s 15-week ban to be argued in front of Supreme Court next year

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.), joined U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Lois Frankel (D-Fl.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral legislation guaranteeing equal access to abortion throughout the United States. The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in a case that directly threatens 50 years of precedent protecting access to abortion, and comes as states like Texas continue to pass anti-choice laws.

Introduced with historic support, WHPA has 48 total co-sponsors in the Senate and 176 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

WHPA would create a federal statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and impede access. 

From Roe v. Wade in 1973 to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized abortion as a constitutional right. However, anti-abortion advocates have worked for years at the state-level to pass laws meant to undermine or eliminate access to abortion care. In the last decade, state lawmakers have pushed through nearly 500 restrictive laws that make abortion difficult and, sometimes, impossible to access. Just this year, four states have passed bans on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant. Lawmakers in Arkansas and Oklahoma attempted to ban abortion completely.

WHPA would stop these attacks and ensure that abortion access first guaranteed under Roe is a reality for everyone, everywhere.

“In courts and state capitol buildings, the Constitutional rights of women are under attack like never before,” Carper said. “This critical bill would ensure women can make their own health care decisions – no matter their zip code. I’m proud to support this legislation, and thank Senator Blumenthal and Representative Chu for their leadership.”

“Since 1973, the Supreme Court has recognized the right to choose as deeply rooted in the Constitution,” Coons said. “With new attacks on Roe v. Wade across the country, this bill affirms that right, and guarantees that every person in America, no matter their background, income level, or zip code, has access to safe, affordable, and legal reproductive care. I’m proud to join Senator Carper, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, and a number of our colleagues in fighting back against repeated attacks on women’s rights.”

“At a time when the Constitutional rights, personal health care choices of women, and abortion rights are under attack like never before, I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act,” Blunt Rochester said. “Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, has long been settled precedent, and should be protected. This critical piece of legislation will ensure that women, in consultation with their doctors can make the health choices that are best for them and will protect abortion rights for women across the country.”

The text of the Senate bill – including the full list of cosponsors – is available here. The text of the House bill – including the full list of cosponsors – is available here.