March 1, 2022
Pressley Condemns Senate Obstruction of Women’s Health Protection Act
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement condemning the Senate’s obstruction of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), her legislation with Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to guarantee equal access to abortion everywhere and prevent extreme anti-choice laws like the recent bans passed in Texas and Mississippi.
“In the midst of unprecedented attacks on our reproductive rights and freedoms, the Senate had the opportunity to fight back against these draconian laws and codify the right to abortion care for everyone who calls America home. Once again, Senate obstructionists chose to stand on the wrong side of history,” said Rep. Pressley. “While the Senate’s failure to pass our Women’s Health Protection Act is disappointing, I’m glad that each Senator—Republican and Democrat—was put on the record so their constituents can see whether they support their reproductive rights and bodily autonomy—or the racist and discriminatory abortion bans enacted by anti-choice legislatures across the country. Abortion care is a fundamental human right and the fight to affirm it as such is far from finished.”
While the Senate’s vote on WHPA was a historic step forward, the legislation was blocked from advancing as it did not reach the 60-vote threshold needed for further consideration in the Senate.
Reps. Chu, Escobar and Frankel also released statements condemning the failure of the bill to pass the Senate.
“For decades, Roe v. Wade has guaranteed everyone the right to access safe abortion care, regardless of background. And for decades, anti-abortion extremists have been devising new ways to put that right out of reach.” said Rep. Chu, lead sponsor of WHPA. “This has left many – mainly low-income people of color – to fear that every new anti-choice law could be the one that finally puts abortion access out of reach for them, or their daughters. That is why I am so proud of the work the Senate did today by bringing this bill to the floor for a vote. It is important that we put each Senator on record, so the American people can know if they stand for reproductive rights and freedom, or if they will bow to anti-choice extremists. While I am disappointed with today’s result, I would like to thank my tireless Senate co-leads, Senators Blumenthal and Baldwin, for their efforts to push WHPA one step closer to becoming law. I’d also like to thank Leader Schumer and Chair Murray for their dedication to reproductive rights, and their determination to ensure that WHPA received a vote on the Senate. The decision of whether to continue a pregnancy is a choice that must be left to us and our doctors, not right-wing politicians. I will continue the fight so that everyone, regardless of if they live in California or in Texas, has access to the full range of reproductive healthcare.
“The decision about whether and when to bring a child into this world should be made by that person, not politicians. The failure of the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act today is disappointing, but will not stop the fight for reproductive freedom,” said Rep. Frankel.
“Today, Senate obstructionists blocked an effort to safeguard women’s reproductive freedom in Texas and across the country,” said Rep. Escobar. “By failing to advance this critical legislation that would codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into law, they are denying millions of women of their constitutional right to abortion and harming those in communities like El Paso who already face discriminatory obstacles to accessing health care.”
In June, Congresswoman Pressley, along with U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere.
In September, Rep. Pressley issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s inaction on SB-8, Texas’ restrictive abortion law. Later that month, she participated in a House Oversight Committee hearing to examine the threat posed by abortion bans and underscored the urgency of the Senate passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. In December, she condemned the Supreme Court’s failure to put an end to SB8 and allow the egregious law to continue.
As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to repeal the Hyde Amendment and protect comprehensive reproductive health care for all, including abortion care.
Over the course of her first term serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has filed amendments every year to repeal Hyde from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills and in July published a Medium post on the importance of doing so.
- In April, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), led a group of 131 Democratic members in reintroducing the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all people, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, can make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
- In May 2020, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.
- In May 2019, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade. In June 2019, Rep. Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription.
- In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services.