Cantwell, Murray Introduce Bicameral Legislation Guaranteeing Women’s Right to Choose Nationwide

Women’s Health Protection Act would stop state anti-choice laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the recent passage of restrictive anti-choice state laws in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined members of both the Senate and House to introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act, bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere. 

“These outrageous abortion bans roll back years of progress on access to women’s health care,” said Senator Cantwell. “A woman’s right to make decisions about their own body is protected by the Constitution, and Washington state has codified that right into law. This legislation will protect a woman’s right to reproductive health care, no matter where they reside.” 

“Simply put, women cannot be in control of their own bodies when extreme politicians like those in Alabama, or Missouri, or the White House are making decisions that limit women’s options, restrict their choices, and criminalize the providers they trust,” said Senator Murray. “This legislation will help ensure that every woman across the country is able to exercise her constitutional right to control her body, her future, and her security.” 

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) guarantees a woman’s right to choose—and the right of a provider to deliver these services—nationwide, free from medically-unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship. 

From Roe v. Wade in 1973 to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion. However, anti-choice advocates have worked for years at the state level to pass laws meant to undermine or eliminate access to women’s reproductive care. Just in this legislative session alone, 34 laws that restrict and impede access to women’s health care have already passed in 15 states, and another 350 restrictive laws have already been introduced. WHPA would stop these attacks and ensure that the health care access first guaranteed under Roe is a reality for everyone, everywhere. 

Polls have found that 71 percent of American voters oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, including 76 percent of independents and a majority of Republicans. Among women, 72 percent do not want to see this landmark constitutional decision overturned. 

WHPA was introduced with the support of 42 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Cantwell and Murray. Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) and 171 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. WHPA has been endorsed by leading women’s health and civil rights organizations, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the ACLU.