Baldwin sponsors Women’s Health Protection Act

The Wisconsin Gazette

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Reps. Judy Chu, Lois Frankel and Marcia Fudge are reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation to safeguard a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

The legislation was introduced on Jan. 21, on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

“Year after year, anti-choice politicians have passed underhanded laws to shut down clinics and block access to essential reproductive health care,” said Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights. It is critical for Congress to step in to protect the health, dignity, and rights of women across the nation by enacting the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

She continued, “This historic legislation would put an end to this assault on women’s health and personal decisions. 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.”

The legislation was first introduced in the 113th Congress in November 2013 and debated before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2014. 

The legislation would prohibit states from imposing restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.

Specifically, the measure would prohibit state and federal lawmakers from imposing:

• Targeted restrictions on abortion providers, including clinic shutdown laws that single out women’s reproductive health care providers with regulations that exceed what is necessary to ensure high standards of patient safety and quality of care.

• Bans on abortion prior to viability that violate women’s constitutional rights established by Roe v. Wade.

• Restrictions on women’s access to medication abortion, such as requiring physicians to adhere to an outdated and less safe protocol when providing women with this safe and effective method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest weeks.

• State-mandated medical procedures and protocols, such as compelling women to undergo forced ultrasounds for no medical reason and designed to shame women for their personal decisions.

On Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, advocates of the legislation planned to hold press conferences and rallies in Madison, as well as Austin and Houston, Texas, San Francisco and New York City.