are reintroducing legislation to protect people
's access to abortion at the same time that Republicans
are pushing dozens of bills at the state level to limit access to reproductive rights
and the Supreme Court
is set to hear a key case.
's Health Protection Act, first introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal
(D-Conn.) in 2013, would prohibit states
from imposing abortion restrictions that make it more difficult for pregnant women to access care, while also protecting both a person's right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy and health providers' ability to provide reproductive health
In a press conference on Tuesday, Blumenthal warned that Republican lawmakers have introduced over 500 bills at the state level aimed at restricting abortion access, and that the “pace has accelerated” in recent years.
“What we've seen is an unprecedented assault
on a woman's right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy,” Blumenthal said, calling the state-level barriers an "attack
on women's health care
, for example, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott
signed an extreme abortion law last month, effectively prohibiting the procedure at six weeks into pregnancy, when many women aren't even aware they're pregnant. In Oklahoma
, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt
signed a bill that would revoke the medical license of doctors who perform abortions unless it's to save the mother's life.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hear a pivotal case involving a Mississippi
ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the first time the nation's highest court will hear an abortion ban
since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
Blumenthal warned that the conservative-leaning court's decision could "not only chip away at, but potentially overturn Roe v. Wade — or, at the very least, do profound damage to it."
Happening Now: Abortion access is under attack like never before, and Congress
must act to protect this constitutional right by passing the Women's Health Protection Act. #ActForAbortionAccess https://t.co/ggAqyGVv7C
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) June 8, 2021
The Women's Health Protection Act, first introduced by Blumenthal in 2013, has been reintroduced numerous times in new congressional sessions since, with 176 co-sponsors in the House
and 45 co-sponsors in the Senate
so far in the current Congress. While Democrats hold a majority in the House, such contentious legislation will face tougher odds in the Senate, which is closely divided.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) noted in a virtual press conference on Tuesday that abortion restrictions disproportionately affect low-income women and women of color.
“It’s a sad fact that in this country, if you are white, wealthy, and well-connected, abortion will always be available to you,” Chu said, adding, “but we need [this legislation] to ensure that no matter where you live, what your background is... you have the same rights to make decisions about your own body
as anyone else.”