June 08, 2021

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Protect Reproductive Rights Nationwide

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) in cosponsoring the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere. The bill’s introduction follows the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in a case that directly threatens fifty years of precedent protecting access to abortion and comes as states like Texas continue to pass anti-choice laws

“Reproductive rights are under attack all across the country, and it’s vital that we protect women’s access to a full range of health care services. Nevadans have made tremendous progress in protecting reproductive rights, including abortion, and we need to make sure every American has the same protections,” said Cortez Masto. “With the Supreme Court set to consider the future of Roe v. Wade, there is no time to waste, and I will continue to ensure that women can make their own health care decisions.”

Most women in this country today have never lived without access to a full range of health care services, because Roe has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. But that’s exactly what the Supreme Court will be deciding in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that is currently before the Court—whether a woman can continue to make her own health care decisions. Every American needs to realize that this is the moment so many of us have feared for so long. The stakes have never been higher.

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.

From Roe v. Wade in 1973 to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized abortion as a constitutional right. However, anti-abortion extremists have worked for years at the state level to pass laws meant to undermine or eliminate access to abortion care. In the last decade, state lawmakers have pushed through nearly 500 restrictive laws that make abortion difficult and, sometimes, impossible to access. Just this year, four states have passed bans on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, before many people even know they’re pregnant. Lawmakers in Arkansas and Oklahoma attempted to ban abortion completely. WHPA would stop these attacks and ensure that abortion access first guaranteed under Roe is a reality for everyone everywhere.

“With the Supreme Court set to consider a direct attack on Roe and as emboldened and extremist lawmakers viciously attack women’s reproductive rights in statehouses across the nation, the Women’s Health Protection Act has never been more urgent or more necessary,” Blumenthal said. “These demagogic and draconian laws hurt women and families as they make personal and difficult medical decisions. This issue is about more than health care, it’s about human rights—all our rights. I’m proud to join this historic coalition of lawmakers in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act and look forward to taking the next step towards seeing it passed into law by holding a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee on the bill next week.”

“Right now in states across this country, Roe v. Wade is under attack and millions of women are at risk of losing the freedom to make their own personal health decisions,” said Baldwin. “It is past time to stand up to these extreme threats to women's constitutionally protected reproductive rights, which is why I’m championing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Every woman, regardless of where she lives, deserves the freedom to make her own, personal decisions about her health care, her family and her body.”

The text of the Senate bill—including the full list of cosponsors—is available here. The text of the House bill—including the full list of cosponsors—is available here.

“The majority of voters want abortion protected under federal law,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We cannot wait any longer. If Roe falls, many states will immediately take action to make abortion a crime. Even now, with constitutional protections in place, state legislators have made it impossible to access abortion in the South and Midwest. Especially for Black people and other people of color who already face barriers to health care. This bill—WHPA—would protect against the hundreds of state restrictions and bans that have pushed abortion out of reach. This is an issue of equal access, everywhere.”

“Abortion access is a racial and economic justice issue. The legacy of restrictions on reproductive health care has perpetuated white supremacy and anti-Black racism. Restrictions on abortion compound harm for members of communities that have historically experienced barriers to health care -- namely people of color, queer and trans folks, and those working to make ends meet. We appreciate that the Women’s Health Protection Act bill language recognizes that Reproductive Justice is a human right and that every individual should be able to decide whether and how to have children based on their own circumstances and without interference or discrimination,” said Danielle Hurd-Wilson (they/them), Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “The future I want to see is one where anyone can get an abortion with dignity and without barriers. The Women’ Health Protection Act would help cut the tangled web of restrictions that anti-abortion politicians have enacted to shame and stigmatize our decisions and deny us timely health care.”

Senator Cortez Masto is a leader in the Senate advocating for reproductive rights. She has strongly opposed federal court nominees who have promised to roll back women’s health care and reproductive freedom. She was a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s efforts to limit access to family planning and reproductive health care and worked to block federal court nominees who would roll back women’s health care and reproductive freedoms. Cortez Masto has advocated for legislation to protect women’s reproductive health, expand abortion rights, and improve and expand access to quality health care, including the Affordable Care Act. She has also supported legislation to expand healthcare options for pregnant women and prevent employers from discriminating against them.