Nancy Northup, who heads the Center for Reproductive Rights, recognized the moment Feb. 17 as “the first time the Senate votes on standalone legislation to enshrine the right to abortion in federal law.”
The WHPA would prohibit abortion restrictions or bans “that are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance reproductive health or the safety of abortion services, and make abortion services more difficult to access.”
ACTION ALERT: Contact your senators or call (202) 224-3121 and urge them to vote NO on the WHPA and oppose abortions up to birth.
The act’s text lists a series of specific restrictions it would do away with, on everything from limitations on telemedicine to restrictions around viability, which the act defines as the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb — determined by “the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider.”
The WHPA would forbid any kind of limit on abortion before fetal viability, including “a prohibition or restriction on a particular abortion procedure.” After viability, the WHPA would outlaw limits on abortion “when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
National pro-life groups, such as SBA List, have expressed concern over this section because the Supreme Court, in Doe v. Bolton, broadly defined what “may relate to health,” including “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient.”
SBA List warned that the WHPA would “nullify pro-life laws in states across the country, including late-term abortion limits when unborn children can feel pain, waiting periods, informed consent laws, antidiscrimination laws, and more.”