Women’s Health Protection Act

Topic: Women’s Health Protection Act Works to Promote Health Equity for Women

For years, black and brown communities have lived with limited healthcare protections within both policy and practice. On June 16th, 2021 health equity advocates spoke on the importance of protecting the rights of women to access abortions across the United States through the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (WHPA). The proposed federal legislation would create a statutory right to provide and receive abortion care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and impede access, such as additional appointments prior to the operation. Black and Brown communities disproportionately suffer from abortion restrictions, which further exacerbate existing racial health disparities and inequity.

One group that continues to advocate for health equity and is championing this act is the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The principal mission of this organization is to secure equal justice for all through the law, particularly inequities that African-Americans and other racial and ethnic groups face (www.lawyerscommittee.org).

We asked the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to share why WHPA is important to the black community. Natasha Chabria, Associate Counsel within the Economic Justice/Special Litigation & Advocacy department under the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided some insights for us:

Chante’ Gamby (CG): What is the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (WHPA)? How does this Act benefit the African-American community?

Natasha Chabria (NC): The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (WHPA) is federal legislation that would prohibit states from enacting medically unnecessary abortion restrictions and bans. It would act as a bulwark against oppressive state abortion regulations that disproportionately impact Black and Brown people seeking abortion care, particularly those individuals living with low incomes. Under the Act, providers have a right to provide abortion care and their patients have a right to receive that care “free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and impede access.”

WHPA will help to mitigate the substantial financial and logistical barriers to abortion care that Black and Brown people currently face, allowing them to more easily exercise reproductive autonomy and realize the economic, medical, and educational benefits that flow from that freedom. Simply put, the Act will enable Black and Brown people to access their constitutional right to an abortion.

Topic Discussed: Women’s Health Protection Act Works to Promote Health Equity for Women

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