Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Restore and Protect Abortion Rights Nationwide

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today joined colleagues to introduce federal legislation that would guarantee access to abortion, everywhere across the country and restore the right to comprehensive reproductive health care for millions of Americans.

“We must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and enshrine abortion rights into black letter law, full stop,” said Wyden, who has taken to the Senate floor multiple times in support of abortion rights, including protecting access to mifepristone. “Conservatives on the Court, in Congress, and in state legislatures across the country are hell bent on clawing for power and control until they have criminalized abortion, birth control, and gay marriage. But we won’t let them. I am fortunate to live in Oregon, where abortion is protected both in access and coverage, but these kinds of protections should exist for everyone, in every state on a national level.”

“Politicians have no place in your bedroom or exam room. The freedom to be in control of your own body is an essential freedom,” Merkley said. “Here in America, we all should have the same right to make medical decisions about our own bodies, and to access the care we need—including reproductive care—no matter where we live. The Women’s Health Protection Act is a commitment to individual freedom, and I won’t stop fighting until we successfully protect access to the full scope of reproductive health care.”

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introduction follows the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which repealed Roe v. Wade.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.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would:

  • Prohibit states from imposing restrictions that jeopardize access to abortion earlier in pregnancy, including 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.
  • Ensure that later in pregnancy, states cannot limit access to abortion if it would jeopardize the life or health of the mother.
  • 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 here.

A one-pager on the bill is here.

A web version of this release is here.