Rep. Wexton Votes to Defend Reproductive Health Rights Against Dangerous Assaults, Enshrine Roe v. Wade Protections into Law
Washington, September 24, 2021
Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to defend women’s constitutional right to reproductive health care with H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act. Amid a dangerous assault on women’s basic health freedoms -- from state houses across the country to the U.S. Supreme Court -- this landmark legislation enshrines into law the vital protections of Roe v. Wade and secures the right to reproductive care for all women across America.
"The right to a safe and legal abortion is under attack as never before. State legislatures across the country are eagerly advancing efforts to control a woman's freedom to make decisions about her own reproductive health," said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. "The Women's Health Protection Act that we passed today defends the right to choose and empowers legal challenges against the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, like in Texas and Mississippi."
For years, radical state legislatures have waged an all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights. 2021 is on track to be the worst legislative year for women’s health rights ever, with 90 measures restricting reproductive rights enacted since July -- more than in any year since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. On May 19th, Texas enacted SB 8, which is now the most extreme abortion law in effect in the United States. This catastrophic legislation outlaws nearly all abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape and incest, while also creating a chilling bounty system that deputizes private citizens to sue health care providers or anyone else they believe has helped a woman get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Shamefully, the Supreme Court voted to permit this law to go into effect, despite its flagrant violation of the Constitution, by effectively denying Texas women the ability to exercise their constitutional rights guaranteed by Roe. The Supreme Court could take further action to gut Roe’s essential protections when it considers Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on December 1st.
The Women’s Health Protection Act codifies the constitutional right to abortion care as found in Roe and reaffirmed in many subsequent decisions for nearly half a century. It establishes the federal statutory right for health care providers to offer abortion care and the federal right for patients to receive that care, free from state restrictions. Enshrining these essential rights is also an issue of racial and economic justice, as restrictions on reproductive care disproportionately harm women of color and women from low-income communities and perpetuate long-standing inequities.