Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to defend women’s access to reproductive health care in response to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and Republicans’ push for a nationwide abortion ban. The Women's Health Protection Act will ensure Americans’ right to make their own health decisions. The Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act will reaffirm the right to freely travel throughout the country to access reproductive care.
“The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade was devastating, reversing nearly 50 years of legal precedent and stripping away a woman’s right to make her own personal health care decisions,” said Rep. Sewell. “This ruling will put women’s lives on the line, especially here in Alabama where women die of pregnancy-related complications at one of the highest rates in the nation. I believe that a woman’s deeply personal health care decisions should be made by her and her doctor, not her politicians.”
With its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court erased nearly 50 years of legal precedent, fulfilling Republicans’ longtime goal of stripping Americans of their reproductive health freedoms. At least eight states implemented abortion bans the day of the Dobbs ruling, and lawmakers have begun implementing additional restrictions. Many are even seeking to impede Americans’ ability to access care across state lines and threatening to arrest doctors for providing care. Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence and Republicans in Congress have called for a federal law outlawing abortion in all 50 states.
These attacks threaten the health, lives, and well-being of women across the country and particularly in Alabama which already suffers from one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation. Health care providers are practicing in fear of criminal prosecution leading to the delay and denial of life-saving care. Women who have been denied an abortion face a range of harmful outcomes, including an increase in household poverty, a greater likelihood of staying in contact with a violent partner and heightened risk of maternal death.
In response, the House again passed the Women's Health Protection Act to enshrine Roe v. Wade into federal law. Previously passed by the House last year, this landmark legislation has been updated to address the Dobbs ruling. The Women's Health Protection Act will uphold all Americans’ freedom to make their own health care decisions as well as providers’ freedom to provide lifesaving reproductive health care. This bill would supersede state legislation, voiding all state-level bans throughout the country.
The House also advanced the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, addressing attempts to restrict Americans’ freedom of movement. This legislation will prohibit any attempt under state law to:
- impede an individual from crossing state lines to obtain a legal abortion
- interfere with a health care provider’s ability to offer legal reproductive care
- restrict individuals from helping others to seek a legal abortion
- obstruct the transportation of FDA-approved abortion medication.
This legislation now goes to the Senate for its consideration.