Senators Carper, Coons Join Colleagues in Reintroducing Legislation to Guarantee Equal Access to Abortion Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation guaranteeing equal access to abortion nationwide. The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which repealed Roe v. Wade. This decision has stripped access to abortion care for millions of Americans and denied individuals the freedom to make their own health care decisions. Since the Dobbs decision, 14 states have already implemented near-total abortion bans, leaving one in three American women without access to safe, legal abortion care. Additionally, state legislatures across the country have introduced hundreds of bills to include medically unnecessary restrictions that limit access to abortion care.

The Women’s Health Protection Act creates federal rights for patients and providers to protect abortion access and creates federal protections against medically unnecessary restrictions that undermine Americans’ access to health care and intrude upon personal decision-making.

“Right now, reproductive health care continues to be attacked all across our country,” said Senator Carper. “The Women’s Health Protection Act would ensure women and their doctors, not politicians and judges, make these private health care decisions. I’m proud to once again support this legislation and thank Senators Baldwin and Blumenthal for their leadership.”

“In a post-Roe world, it’s more critical than ever that we stand up for the fundamental right of women to make choices about their lives and their futures,” said Senator Coons. “I’m proud to join with colleagues in supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act and protecting access to reproductive health care, including abortion.” 

Following the Dobbs decision in June of last year, millions of Americans in states like Wisconsin are unable to make their own health care decisions. Patients are being denied or delayed access to necessary and potentially life-saving treatment, including for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage management, because of new legal risks to providers. And, the harms caused by these abortion restrictions fall heaviest on populations that already experience inequities, including people with low incomes, people of color, immigrants, young people, people with disabilities, and those living in rural and other medically underserved areas.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would:

  1. Prohibit states from imposing restrictions that jeopardize access to abortion earlier in pregnancy. This includes many of the state-level restrictions in place prior to Dobbs, such as arbitrary waiting periods, medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasounds, or requirements to provide medically inaccurate information.
  1. Ensure that later in pregnancy, states cannot limit access to abortion if it would jeopardize the life or health of the mother.
  1. Protect the ability to travel out of state for an abortion, which has become increasingly common in recent years.

A full list of co-sponsors and a copy of the bill text is available here.

A one-pager on the bill is available here.