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In Historic Vote, House Votes to Protect Abortion Access for All

September 24, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – For the first time ever, the House of Representatives today voted to make access to abortion care a federally protected right. The Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Franke (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX), would guarantee equal access to abortion, everywhere and would prevent extreme anti-choice laws like the recent bans passed in Texas and Mississippi. Before this morning’s vote, WHPA’s sponsors were joined at a press conference with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chairs of the Pro-Choice Caucus. The Members issued the following statements:

“Today’s historic vote has been a long time coming,” said Rep. Chu, lead sponsor of WHPA. “For decades, Roe v. Wade has guaranteed everyone the right to access safe abortion care, regardless of background. And for decades, anti-abortion extremists have been devising new ways to put that right out of reach. That has left many – mainly low-income people of color – left to fear that every new anti-choice law could be the one that finally puts abortion access out of reach for them, or their daughters. That is why we are fighting back to put a stop to these attacks once and for all. With today’s historic vote, we are ensuring that access to abortion care is a right, no matter where you live. This is a choice about our bodies and our lives that must be left to us and our doctors, not to right-wing politicians.”

“Abortion care is a fundamental human right. For too long, the coordinated attacks by anti-abortion lawmakers have gone unchecked and have pushed abortion care out of reach for our most vulnerable, particularly our lowest income sisters, our queer, trans and non-binary siblings, Black, brown, AAPI and indigenous folks,”  said Rep. Pressley, a lead cosponsor of WHPA. “With the Supreme Court proving time and again that it is no longer on the side of justice, I am proud that this Pro-Choice majority House acted diligently to pass our bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and move us one step closer to codifying the right to abortion care once and for all. Leader Schumer and President Biden must quickly advance this bill in the Senate and sign it into law. Our work continues.”

“The decision of whether, if, and when to become a parent is one of the most personal life decisions we can make, and it’s a decision that should be between a patient and the people they trust—not politicians or vigilante strangers,” said Rep. Frankel, a lead cosponsor of WHPA. “Laws like what we are seeing in Texas and proposed legislation in my home state of Florida are meant to put power, money, and politics over the health and safety of people who need abortion care. That’s why this bill is so important. It is a beacon of hope in the fight for reproductive freedom, and will protect both patients and health care providers.”

There has never been a more important time for Congress to step up and protect the right to an abortion,” said Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Lee. “While it is a monumental achievement to see this bill pass the House, we must remain focused. Every day, we are reminded that abortion access for millions hangs in the balance. Conservative state legislatures will stop at nothing to strip abortion care from the most vulnerable. There is no denying that people of color and low-income people are disproportionately affected by restrictions on abortion coverage, and that those who have been denied abortion access are more likely to live in poverty. It’s critical that we protect the rights of the most vulnerable and ensure safe, healthy, and equitable access to reproductive care. As the co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I remain fiercely committed to fighting ANY effort to undermine and chip away at our constitutionally protected right to comprehensive reproductive health care. Thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Judy Chu and Speaker Pelosi, we are one step closer. It’s time for the Senate to step up and protect the right to choose for all.”

“For people in Texas, the fifty years of legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade is effectively meaningless,” said Rep. DeGette, co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “For people in Mississippi, the constitutional right to access abortion care may soon no longer exists. This legislation will ensure that all Americans – regardless of where they live – have a federally-protected right to access abortion care. It will negate the Texas and Mississippi laws, and it will guarantee all women in this country – once again – have the freedom to decide what’s best for them.”

“This is a historic day for women and a victory for reproductive rights. Texas' extreme abortion law is the latest attempt to control and oppress women’s decision over their bodies,” said Rep. Garcia, co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “I am honored to join my colleagues in taking a major step toward protecting Roe v. Wade and the freedom of millions of women to decide over their bodies and their destinies. Women’s access to a safe and legal abortion should be the floor not the ceiling.”