Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill codifies the right to abortion and repeals medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion services.

Why it Matters:

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to abortion, 14 states have made abortion illegal. Still more have put medically unnecessary restrictions to abortion care in place. The passing of WHPA would restore a nationwide right to abortion and help millions of people regain access to abortion care.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Baldwin (D-WI) and Reps. Pressley (D-MA), Chu (D-CA), Frankel (D-FL) and Escobar (D-TX) on March 30, 2023.  

Equal Access to Abortion Coverage Act (EACH Act)

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill ensures that every person who receives care or insurance through the federal government will have coverage for abortion services. This bill would remove the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to finance abortion. 

Why it Matters:

Approximately 1 in 5 women of reproductive age are enrolled in Medicaid and depend on it for their reproductive health care. Right now, over half of these women live in states where abortion is not covered under Medicaid. These women are either are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or must pay for care out of their own pockets. The EACH act would make sure that everyone covered under Medicaid will be covered for abortion services 

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Reps. DeGette (D-CO) and Lee (D-CA) on Jan. 26, 2023.  

Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill establishes protections for doctors who provide abortion services to patients traveling between states. Additionally, this bill establishes funds to assist doctors who face legal issues relating to their provision of reproductive health care services.

Why it Matters:

The effort to stop pregnant people from accessing abortions and other reproductive health services often targets health care providers trying to provide patients with high-quality medical care. State laws like Texas’ SB8 target anyone who performs an abortion, and some allow for vigilantes to bring lawsuits against providers. The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will help mitigate the effects of this targeting by creating new and necessary protections for providers.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Schrier (D-WA) on April 26, 2023. 

Affordability is Access Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill requires health insurance companies to cover over-the-counter contraception (birth control). It also mandates that any retailers that stock contraception cannot interfere with a consumer’s access to contraception.

 Why it Matters

FDA advisors voted unanimously in May of 2023 to recommend making the birth control pill OPill available over the counter. If the FDA follows the recommendation of its advisors later this summer (as they usually do), and if the Affordability is Access Act passes, Opill and other over-the-counter birth control options will be available at no cost to consumers.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Pressley (D-MA) on May 18, 2023.  

Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act (REAHYA)

The Bill at a Glance:

Under this bill, the Department of Health and Human Services must establish grants to support sex education and sexual health services for young people. This bill prohibits the use of federal dollars to promote discrimination or misinformation, and it repeals the Abstinence Only Until Marriage program.  

Why it Matters:

Currently, only 22 states require that sexual education be medically accurate if provided – and 19 states teach abstinence-only sex ed Abstinence-only and other sexual risk avoidance programs have been discredited by a wide body of evidence, including a Congressionally mandated study in 2007 which found these programs ineffective in stopping or delaying teen sex and the spread of STIs. If passed, the Real Education and Access for Health Youth Act would fund more of the accurate, comprehensive sex ed programs we know work.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Sens. Booker (D-NJ) and Hirono (D-HI) as well as Reps. Lee (D-CA) and Adams (D-NC) introduced this bill on May 22, 2023

Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act

The Bill Package at a Glance:

This package is a collection of 13 bills that seek to address systemic racism and structural barriers to improve maternal health outcomes in the United States. 

Why it Matters: 

Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. These disparities are largely due to systemic racism and discrimination in health care. This racism often takes the form of systematic resource starvation in communities of color, the mechanisms of which are often redlining, employment discrimination, and voter suppression. Implicit bias is also at play in medical settings; for example, white physicians often unconsciously associate Black patients as being “less compliant” or are more likely to dismiss women's reports of pain.  The Momnibus contains bills that will grow the perinatal workforce, invest in better data and accountability tools, improve expand care coverage, and more.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Reintroduced by Rep. Underwood, Sen. Booker and the Black Maternal Health Caucus on May 15, 2023.  

Healthy Maternity and Obstetric Medicine (MOM) Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill seeks to expand insurance coverage for pregnant people, creating new rules for special enrollment programs and programs that extend coverage to dependents.  

Why it Matters:

Currently, many pregnant people are only able to enroll in coverage or change plans during the annual health insurance open enrollment period. This means that if an uninsured person discovers they are pregnant outside the open enrollment period, they will likely be unable to obtain affordable coverage with appropriate benefits for most of their pregnancy. The Healthy MOM act ensures these people can get the care they need to have healthy pregnancies and healthy infants. 

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) last congress, currently awaiting reintroduction.

CARE for Moms Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill directs the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid to establish a demonstration program to improve freestanding birth center services for women with low-risk pregnancies.  

Why it Matters:

Many rural and urban hospitals across the U.S. are closing their obstetric units due to economic pressures and high costs of providing maternity care. As maternal health outcomes in the continue to decline, it is more important than ever to improve access to care and support birthing people and their families. Birth centers have promising results in supporting the health of infants and mothers while also resulting in cost savings. 

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced last Congress by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), currently awaiting reintroduction.  

Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill seeks to expand our perinatal workforce by creating new funding streams for Midwifery education and training opportunities.  

Why it Matters:

America continues to rank far behind almost all other developed countries in birth outcomes for both mothers and babies, including unacceptably high rates of maternal and infant mortality and preterm births. Decades of research has shown that midwifery is associated with high-quality care and outcomes. Recipients of care by midwives report high levels of patient satisfaction, and midwifery care can lower health care costs. Despite these positive outcomes, midwives currently only attend an estimated 11% of all births in the United States, and 56% of all U.S. counties do not have a single practicing midwife. The Midwives for MOMs act would increase this workforce and access to this branch of maternal health care.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Lujan (D-NM) and Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) on June 7, 2023.

Healthy Moms and Babies Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill seeks to improve maternal health outcomes by making it easier for states to provide coordinated “whole person” care and telehealth services to pregnant and birthing people. It also aims to reduce higher-risk cesarean births.  

Why it Matters:

This bill aims to address several root causes of the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. in promising ways. Namely, the telehealth provisions would expand access to maternal health services in health care deserts and rural areas. Other bill provisions would shift policy and accountability focus to outcome-based prevention models and lower-risk birthing strategies.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Hassan (D-NH) on March 23, 2023.  

Find it Early Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill requires private insurance plans to cover out of pocket costs for high-risk women who need screening and diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds. 

Why it Matters:

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 264,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women each year in the U.S. When detected early, breast cancer can have a five-year survival rate of 99%, but when detected at a late stage and after it has metastasized to other parts of the body, five-year survival is under 30%. There are considerable cost barriers associated with breast cancer detection that lead to critical delays in care, particularly for poor women and women of color – cost barriers the Find it Early Act will significantly reduce if passed.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Reps. DeLauro (D-CT) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on May 8, 2023.  

Anti-Racism in Public Health Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill mandates the development of anti-racist policies by the government and calls for the establishment of a National Center for Anti-Racism at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

Why it Matters:

Centuries of structural racism have created deep disparities in health outcomes for Black and brown communities. From asthma to hypertension to maternal mortality, the data shows communities of color experience higher health disparities in nearly every facet of life. The bill would address this problem by expanding research and investment into the public health impacts of structural racism. 

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Pressley (D-MA) on April 26, 2023.  

Social Security Caregiver Credit Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill provides retirement compensation in the form of Social Security credits to individuals who leave the workforce to care for family members and other dependents.  

Why it Matters:

More than 1 in 6 Americans working full-time or part-time report assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend. Taking care of a loved one is often a full time job, and 39% these caregivers end up leaving the work force to focus on caregiving. Currently, the system penalizes these people because working less means not paying into Social Security. This legislation would make sure that the selfless decision to care for a loved one no longer comes with such costly consequences.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Introduced by Senator Murphy (D-CT) on April 19, 2023.

Menopause Research Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill directs the National Institute of Health to analyze the findings of long-completed studies on menopause and determine the safety and efficacy of menopause treatments on women. Additionally, this bill includes funding support for new menopause research to resolve gaps in knowledge.  

Why it Matters:

Currently, 50 million women in the U.S. are between the ages of 42 and 58 (mid-life), the typical age group who experience physical changes caused by menopause. Of this group, 85% report experiencing menopause-related symptoms – and 75% of women who seek care are left untreated by their doctors. This legislation would help both consumers and providers better understand this long-understudied condition and could potentially lead to a better menopause standard of care.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

Previously introduced by Rep. McKinley (R-WY), currently awaiting reintroduction.  

LGBT Elder Americans Act

The Bill at a Glance:

This bill promotes access to aging services and supports for older LGBT individuals by creating new grant programs and increases data collection related to the challenges experienced by LGBTQ older individuals.  

Why it Matters:

Older LGBT individuals trying to access health care face more challenges and have  unique needs. According to the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, they are more likely to live alone and lack social support as they age, half report having a disability, most have been victimized by the health care system multiple times, and 13% have been denied health care altogether. By increasing services and data collection, this bill would improve health care access for this population and ensure their experiences are heard and documented in the name of accountability and policy improvements.  

Updates and Action Alerts:

This bill was introduced by Rep. Bonamici (D-OR) on May 24, 2023