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Senator Schumer calls for Senate to pass Women’s Health Protection Act

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Photo by Myrian Garcia

On Feb. 24, Senator Chuck Schumer urged his fellow senators to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act outside the US Federal Courthouse. 

“We are here today as a united front on the issue of women’s rights, their protection and their health,” said Schumer. “We are in the midst of a downright dangerous domino effect attack on women’s reproductive rights. We are here because we can and we must assert the Federal Government’s role to protect the constitutional right to abortion. I am announcing that the Senate will vote on the critical WHPA.” 

The Women’s Health Protection Act will ensure the protection of a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy and the protection of a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services. This bill passed the House of Representatives on Sep. 24, 2021. Now, Senator Schumer leads the way to secure the passage of the bill in the Senate on Monday, Feb. 28. 

“We have scheduled to vote on the WHPA this upcoming Monday,” said Schumer. “We are here to throw cold water on the flames of anti-women bigotry and affirm five sacred words: Abortion is a fundamental right.”

Joining the Senator today were other leaders in the Pro-Women’s Health Care Movement. Among the leaders was Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Meera Shah, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood, Mini Timmaraju President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Elizabeth Estrada New York Advocacy Manager for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Nancy Northup CEO of Center for Reproductive Rights, Paula Ávila-Guillé Executive Director of Women’s Equality Center and Human Rights Attorney and Breya Johnson Deputy Director and Manager of Girls for Gender Equity. 

Additionally, four New York City Council members spoke including Councilmember and Chair of Women and Gender Equity Committee Tiffany Cabán, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and representatives from organizations such as the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and the Jahajee Sisters. 

“This is historic legislation,” said Councilmember Adams. “As New Yorkers, as advocates and as women, we are calling on all Senators, Democrats and Republicans, to support access to safe reproductive health care. Let’s pass this bill and get it to the president’s desk for his signature.”

The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973 set the precedence for the protection of a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. However, many states have proposed new legislation that restricts certain reproductive rights. 

“More than 230 bills have been introduced in 39 states to block access to abortion,” said Johnson. “Today is 176 days since Texas could access abortion after approximately six weeks before many people even know that they are pregnant. Abortion bans are rapidly advancing across the country threatening access to this critical care and plainly violating the U.S. Constitution.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law in Sep. 2021. This bill bans any person from providing an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman. Additional Pro-Life measures have been taken by many states across the nation. 

Nationally, the Supreme Court appears poised to either overturn or significantly weaken the abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade. 

“If Roe falls, as you have heard, over half the states of the United States are likely to ban abortion,” said Northup. “In the decade that I have been advocating for this, I have never been as concerned as I am today about the future of Roe.”

“We must pass the WHPA. It is a critical step towards creating a world where everybody, whoever they are and wherever they live, to be free to make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their lives,” said Timmaraju. 

Each pro-choice activist stood with Senator Schumer and emphasized the role of constituents to educate their fellow neighbors and Senators on reproductive rights. 

“To my Latina sisters in Texas, in Florida and in other parts of the country, I tell you that you are not alone. This is the moment to fight for the rights of women, to bring it to Washington and demand the immediate passage of WHPA,” said Executive Director Ávila-Guillé of Women’s Equality Center in Spanish. “Abortions should not be a privilege for those who have means and for those who are lucky to live in a good state. Abortion is a right for all.”

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