Senate Hearing – the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)
The NWHN's Senior Policy Manager Isabelle Chaudry's Written Testimony
June 16, 2021
The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
706 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Ted Cruz
127A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Blumenthal and Ranking Member Cruz:
As an organization committed to women’s health through shaping policy and supporting consumer health decisions, we, The National Women’s Health Network, urge Congress to take action and protect abortion access.
At the Network, we monitor the actions of federal regulatory and funding agencies, the healthcare industry, and the health professions; identify and expose health care abuses; and mobilize grassroots action for women’s health.
We write to express our full support for the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (S.1975), federal legislation that will protect the right to access abortion care throughout the U.S.
At the National Women’s Health Network, we believe in a just health system that reflects the needs of all people--recognizing historically that women's health has been deprioritized and neglected. We advocate on behalf of ourover3,000 members and 27 state regional coordinators. We strive to improve the health of all women by developing and promoting a critical analysis of health issues in order to affect policy and support consumer decision-making. That is why we're fighting for the Women's Health Protection Act, which protects abortion rights nationwide. The elimination of abortion restrictions is essential to ensuring that all birthing people can exercise agency and autonomy over their bodies.
We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to send the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) to the floor for a vote.
The National Women’s Health Network supports this bill because equal access to abortion care is essential to social and economic equality and the right to determine our own lives.
Hundreds of state-level laws restricting and banning abortion have made abortion care extremely difficult to access, especially for people who already face significant barriers to accessing health care including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)women and birthing people, those working to make ends meet, members of the LGBTQI+ community, immigrants, young people, those living in rural communities, and people with disabilities.
The attacks on abortion rights and access are increasing at a staggering pace. Since 2019, fourteen states have passed unconstitutional bans on abortion including a total ban enacted in Alabama and six-week bans passed in five states. And 2021 is shaping up to the most harmful year for abortion rights and access in decades, with state lawmakers enacting nearly 70 restrictions on abortion in the first five months alone.
The Women’s Health Protection Act is the federal bill that addresses the current attacks on abortion rights and access including bans like the one in Mississippi. WHPA establishes a statutory right for health care providers to provide, and their patients to receive, abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations, and bans that single out abortion and impede access to care. Abortion is healthcare.
Congress must be in solidarity with people and communities fighting for racial, economic, and reproductive justice and commit to protecting the right to access abortion by supporting WHPA. This bill enshrines the right to access abortion into law and provides clear guidance to states and courts about the rights of providers and patients.
We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee for holding a hearing on this important legislation—and we urge the Judiciary Committee to send WHPA to the Senate floor for a vote.
The National Women’s Health Network
Watch a recording of the full hearing here.
M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., is the Senior Policy Manager for the NWHN and an advocate for marginalized communities of women. Isabelle actively lobbies and provides expert testimony before Congress and the FDA for women’s health and cosmetic policies. She is an LL.M candidate in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and a Board Member for Women’s Voices for the Earth.