Wyden, Merkley Co-Sponsor Legislation to Guarantee Equal Access to Abortion Everywhere in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they have joined colleagues in supporting legislation that would guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere in the United States. 

“Reproductive rights are human rights,” said Wyden, who recently introduced a bill to ensure access to abortion regardless of insurance coverage. “In the past decade, we’ve seen concerted efforts at both state and federal levels to restrict access to abortion. Reproductive freedom should not depend on which party holds the White House or Congressional majority. It’s time to codify Roe v. Wade into law, ensuring access to abortion services regardless of income or zip code.”

“The freedom to be in control of your own body is an essential freedom, full stop,” said Merkley. “That’s why it’s so crucial that medical decisions be made by individuals and whomever they may choose to consult—not by extremist politicians. Passing the Women’s Health Protection Act would be a huge step forward in our fight to protect Americans’ right to make those kinds of decisions.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion—and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services—free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship. The bill’s introduction follows the U.S. 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.

The Women’s Health Protection Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate, and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) in the House. Along with Wyden and Merkley, the WHPA has 48 total co-sponsors in the Senate and 176 total co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

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

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

“The majority of voters want abortion protected under federal law,” Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said. “We cannot wait any longer. If Roe falls, many states will immediately take action to make abortion a crime. Even now, with constitutional protections in place, state legislators have made it impossible to access abortion in the South and Midwest. Especially for Black people and other people of color who already face barriers to health care. This bill—WHPA—would protect against the hundreds of state restrictions and bans that have pushed abortion out of reach. This is an issue of equal access, everywhere.” 

“Abortion access is a racial and economic justice issue. The legacy of restrictions on reproductive health care has perpetuated white supremacy and anti-Black racism. Restrictions on abortion compound harm for members of communities that have historically experienced barriers to health care — namely people of color, queer and trans folks, and those working to make ends meet. We appreciate that the Women’s Health Protection Act bill language recognizes that Reproductive Justice is a human right and that every individual should be able to decide whether and how to have children based on their own circumstances and without interference or discrimination,” Danielle Hurd-Wilson (they/them), Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, said. “The future I want to see is one where anyone can get an abortion with dignity and without barriers. The Women’s Health Protection Act would help cut the tangled web of restrictions that anti-abortion politicians have enacted to shame and stigmatize our decisions and deny us timely health care.”