Abortion access is under a sustained and coordinated attack. Even in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic when our leaders should be focused on expanding access to essential health care, medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion care have endangered the health and well-being of pregnant people and undermined public health efforts. Indeed, on January 12, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled on its first abortion case following the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, reinstating Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy that forces patients to travel to a clinic or hospital to pick up medication abortion.
Let’s be clear: there is absolutely no medical reason to force people to pick up this medication in person, just as there is absolutely no medical reason to force people to schedule multiple in-person appointments due to mandatory waiting periods or to force providers to perform ultrasounds and to deliver inaccurate counseling about the risks of abortion. Abortion bans and restrictions are designed to close clinics and to impose a very great burden on those seeking one very specific type of care, reminding us that theoretical legal rights mean nothing without access to essential health care in reality.
We need federal legislation to stop the relentless tide of these discriminatory policies and to secure the constitutional right to abortion should the Court continue to chip away at or even overturn Roe v. Wade. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA, HR 2975/S 1645 in the 116th Congress) and the EACH Woman Act (HR 1692/S 758 in the 116th Congress) are those laws. WHPA would invalidate onerous state restrictions blocking access to abortion while the EACH Woman Act would ensure affordability of this care by ending political interference in public and private insurance coverage.
Together, these critical bills have the potential to create a future where all — particularly those struggling to make ends meet; Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities; young people; immigrants; and LGBTQ individuals who are disproportionately impacted by bans and restrictions — can access the abortion services they need without cost barriers, delays, or burdensome limitations. Encourage your lawmakers to champion abortion access for all by committing to pass WHPA and the EACH Woman Act when they are reintroduced in the 117th Congress.