Women’s Health Protection Act Advocacy Day

By Ashley Hare, Government Relations Intern, Duke University Stanback Internship Program

On June 13, I participated in the Young Advocates for Abortion Access advocacy day to lobby Congress to support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). The event was hosted by Platform and Act for Women, and was cosponsored by 10 organizations, including Population Connection Action Fund.

What is the Women’s Health Protection Act?

The WHPA is federal legislation that would protect the right to abortion nationwide. Yes, Roe v. Wade already protects the right to abortion under the Constitution. But many states have taken Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court as an invitation to pass unconstitutional abortion bans that supporters hope will eventually reach the Supreme Court. At that point, states would have the opportunity to challenge Roe v. Wade.

The Women’s Health Protection Act prohibits medically unnecessary requirements that delay or halt access to abortion, such as arbitrary waiting periods, hospital admitting privileges, or any other parameters that are “not imposed on facilities or the personnel of facilities where medically comparable procedures are performed.”

What is it like lobbying Congress?

About 100 of my peers and I split up into groups and met with staffers of congressional representatives from all over the country. Some of us participated through organizations we’re involved with, such as Feminist Campus/Feminist Majority and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Others heard about the event through word of mouth.

Since this was my first time lobbying Congress, I was honestly a little nervous! It didn’t help that my first meeting was with anti-choice Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3). Yet, as I went from each meeting to the next, I gained more confidence in speaking up for what I believe in. A highlight of the day was speaking with the office of my own representative, the very supportive Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14).

Participating in the WHPA advocacy day was incredibly empowering; I was representing not only myself, but also the millions of Americans who support abortion rights and demand an end to government interference in personal medical decisions.

Abortion is health care. Studies have shown that barriers to abortion access can increase maternal mortality rates, long-term health issues, and negative mental health outcomes.

What can I do to get involved?

Find out whether your representative and senators are cosponsors of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Then, call them to either thank them for their support or to ask them to become cosponsors of the WHPA.

Join the conversation online using #ActForWomen — ask your followers to do the same!

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