Cantwell, Colleagues Reintroduce Women’s Health Protection Act to Restore Abortion Access & Protect Interstate Travel

Cantwell: This bill “would guarantee the right to an abortion for every American, everywhere”

WASHINGTON D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined her colleagues in reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to restore equal access to abortion across the United States. The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, opening the door for states to enact draconian abortion bans and stripping reproductive freedom away from nearly one-third of women living in the United States.

“Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, more women are traveling to pro-choice states in order to secure the safe and often medically necessary reproductive care now banned in their home state. Providers in the State of Washington are treating patients from as far away as Texas,” Sen. Cantwell said. “We have seen voters reject abortion restrictions on the ballot in Kentucky, Kansas, and Montana. The American people are telling us something: they want choice. The Women’s Health Protection Act would guarantee the right to an abortion for every American, everywhere.”

The bill has 47 co-sponsors in the Senate, all Democrats.

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 also protects individuals’ rights to travel between states to secure health care services.

Sen. Cantwell was among the original cosponsors of the bill when it was first introduced in June 2021.

Sen. Cantwell has been pushing to protect reproductive health care access in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to rule against abortion access in Dobbs v. Jackson last year. During a press conference on the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision on Jan. 22, 2023, Sen. Cantwell said: “The United States Senate needs to act. We are not going to play defense. We are going to play offense… This is a constitutional right to privacy that previous courts clearly outlined, and was settled law for 50 years. The only unsettling thing here is that Republicans think they can get away with it.”

Last June, after a leaked draft opinion revealed the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn the established precedent set by Roe, Sen. Cantwell cosponsored the My Body, My Data Act to protect personal reproductive health data.

In July, following a meeting with health care providers at the University of Washington Medical Center, Sen. Cantwell cosponsored the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act to ban anti-choice states from penalizing or prosecuting health care providers that offer reproductive services in states where abortion care is legal. The same month, Sen. Cantwell also cosponsored the Right to Contraception Act, which would codify the right to contraception access established by the Supreme Court ruling Griswold v. Connecticut.

The text of the WHPA is available HERE.