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May 11, 2022

Pressley Statement on Senate’s Failure to Pass Women’s Health Protection Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’ Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce and co-lead of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), issued the following statement after the Senate’s latest obstruction of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

“Throughout its history, the Jim Crow-era rules of the United States Senate have remained a persistent barrier to progress, obstructing justice at every turn and keeping a foot squarely on the neck of Black America. Senate Republicans’ obstruction of the Women’s Health Protection Act is only the latest example of their damning failure to do the bare minimum to protect our fundamental rights at defining moments in our nation’s history.

“Failing to pass this critical legislation means that safe, legal abortion care may be pushed out of reach for millions—particularly Black, brown, Indigenous, immigrant, disabled and LGBTQ+ folks—if the extremists occupying seats on the Supreme Court ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade. I’m glad that each Senator was put on record so their constituents can see which side of history they chose to be on.

“Despite this devastating setback, I remain resolved and determined. We must continue to use every lever at our disposal to protect reproductive rights across this country, including expanding access to medication abortion and pushing back against any efforts to criminalize pregnancy outcomes and abortion care.

“Today, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. If you have an appointment, keep it. If you need care, seek it. With Supreme Court Justices and anti-choice lawmakers across the country waging a full-fledged assault on our reproductive freedom, we must act like our humanity, bodily autonomy, and collective liberation are at stake, because they are. Abortion care is a fundamental human right, and we will not stop organizing, mobilizing, and marching until our policies and budgets reflect that truth.”

Earlier today, Rep. Pressley delivered a passionate floor speech in which she slammed the white supremacist history of the anti-abortion movement and implored the Senate to stand on the right side of history by passing WHPA and codifying the right to abortion care into law. Full video of her remarks is available here.

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.  Last week, she issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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. 

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.