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Blumenthal, Baldwin, Boxer, Chu, Fudge, Frankel Announce Legislation To Protect Access To Reproductive Care

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – joined by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), and Lois Frankel (D-FL-22) – announced the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013.

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by stopping restrictive regulations and laws – such as those in place in states including Texas and Wisconsin – intended to curtail reproductive health services for women. This legislation would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to reproductive health services such as requiring doctors to perform tests and procedures that doctors have deemed unnecessary or preventing doctors from prescribing and dispensing medication as is medically appropriate. Other examples of laws that make it more difficult for a woman to access an abortion include: restrictions on medical training for future abortion providers, requirements concerning the physical layout of clinics where abortions are performed, and forced waiting periods for patients.

Blumenthal said, “A new federal law is necessary to stop anti-choice legislators from using women’s health and safety as a ploy to enact unconscionable and unconstitutional state statutes that obstruct and block women from essential health care and reproductive rights. Such restrictions create cascading doubt and deception that deter women from making personal decisions based their own values and constitutional rights. The Women’s Health Protection Act invalidates unnecessary, unwarranted requirements and procedures – ranging from ultrasounds and admitting privileges to physical clinic layouts. I am proud that Connecticut has avoided such unjustifiable restrictions, and I am determined to stand with women against state laws abhorrent and antithetical to well-established rights. This law will help make reproductive rights real.” 

“In Wisconsin and in states across the country, politicians have been standing between women and their doctors, restricting the choices women can make regarding their own reproductive health,” Baldwin said. “I am proud to stand up to these attacks on women’s freedoms and introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act.  Every American woman deserves the freedom to exercise her constitutional rights by making personal health decisions for herself and her family with a trusted doctor, and without political interference.”

“The Women’s Health Protection Act will protect millions of women – regardless of what state they live in – from dangerous restrictions on their access to health care,” Boxer said. “It affirms the fundamental principle that a woman’s medical decisions are best left up to her, her family, and her doctor – not politicians waging radical assaults on women’s reproductive health.”

“A woman’s right to choose is meaningless if she’s stripped of her options,” Chu said. “State laws eroding access to abortion create unnecessary hurdles and jeopardize women’s health. We’re introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act today to ensure every woman can access safe medical care regardless of where she lives.”

“Earlier this year, my home state of Ohio passed a budget bill that defunds Planned Parenthood and restricts grants to rape crisis centers that refers women to abortion clinics,” said Fudge.  “This budget bill also requires abortion clinics to transfer patients to a local hospital in the case of emergencies, but prohibits public, local hospitals from entering into those agreements.  Together, these actions have severely limited a woman’s ability to exercise her reproductive rights in the state of Ohio. Other states have passed similar laws, but the Women’s Health Protection Act will help put an end to this needless government interference at the state level.”

“We’ve seen over the last few years that women in Florida and across the country are losing access to critical health services due to excessive and restrictive state laws and that’s why it’s important Congress passes the Women’s Health Protection Act,” Frankel said. “Every woman deserves the right to make her own health care decisions, no matter what state she lives in.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act has 30 supporters in the Senate and 58 supporters in the House including the original sponsors.