Harlem Rep. Espaillat Votes To Defend Reproductive Health Rights

September 24, 2021

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat voted to defend women’s constitutional right to reproductive health care with H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act. Amid a dangerous assault on women’s basic health freedoms – from statehouses across the country to the U.S. Supreme Court – this landmark legislation enshrines into law the vital protections of Roe v. Wade and secures the right to reproductive care for all women across America.

“As radical lawmakers across the nation wage an all-out assault against reproductive rights, today I proudly voted to defend every child-bearing person’s basic health freedoms,” said Rep. Espaillat. “With the Women’s Health Protections Act, Congress is taking a critical step to combat these dangerous attacks by enshrining the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade into law. The polling is clear: the American people overwhelmingly support access to safe, affordable reproductive care for all – and I am proud to stand with them in this fight.”

For years, radical state legislatures have waged an all-out assault on child-bearing individuals reproductive rights. 2021 is on track to be the worst legislative year for reproductive health rights ever, with 90 measures restricting such rights enacted since July – more than in any year since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. On May 19th, Texas enacted SB 8, which is now the most extreme abortion law in effect in the United States. This catastrophic legislation outlaws nearly all abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape and incest, while also creating a chilling bounty system that deputizes private citizens to sue health care providers or anyone else they believe has helped a woman get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Shamefully, the Supreme Court voted to permit this law to go into effect, despite its flagrant violation of the Constitution, by effectively denying Texas child-bearing individuals the ability to exercise their constitutional rights guaranteed by Roe. The Supreme Court could take further action to gut Roe’s essential protections when it considers Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on December 1st.

The Women’s Health Protections Act codifies the constitutional right to abortion care as found in Roe and reaffirmed in many subsequent decisions for nearly half a century. It establishes the federal statutory right for health care providers to offer abortion care and the federal right for patients to receive that care, free from state restrictions. Enshrining these essential rights is also an issue of racial and economic justice, as restrictions on reproductive care disproportionately harm low-income and communities of color, perpetuating long-standing inequities.

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“Texas’s SB 8 turns back the clock nearly fifty years on reproductive rights, unleashing a disturbing wave of anti-abortion access legislation in a brazen attempt to evade the Constitution,” Rep. Espaillat continued. “If left unchecked, this cruel law – and the many more likely to follow – could destroy a person’s right to reproductive health care and power over their own health decisions. No one’s constitutional protections should depend on their zip code – and the Women’s Health Protection Act will defend the basic freedom of every child-bearing individual in every community to make their own health care decisions.”

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill, and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip. Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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