Skip to content

May 11, 2022

King Again Votes to Secure Roe Protections, As SCOTUS Prepares to Rule on Abortion Case

The Women’s Health Protection Act, which failed to garner the necessary votes to advance, would have preserved existing women’s healthcare rights regardless of forthcoming Supreme Court decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation which would codify the longstanding precedent of Roe v. Wade into federal law and protect a woman’s right to make these vital healthcare decisions. The King-sponsored bill, which fell short of the threshold required to move forward, would have secured a healthcare provider’s right to provide abortion services if they choose and a patient’s right to receive those services; providers who choose not to provide this care based on religious beliefs will in no way be compelled to do so. This vote comes shortly after the release of a draft Supreme Court ruling indicating the high likelihood of the Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has protected the most basic, private healthcare rights of half the nation,” said Senator King. “This longstanding precedent has been reaffirmed time and time again, but the makeup of the current Court and the contents of the draft opinion published last week show that these rights are now facing their most serious threat in half a century. We cannot move backwards, which is why today I voted to secure the protections of Roe and defend the ability of millions of women to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act is not a radical change – in fact, it would have primarily maintained the status quo of the last 49 years of healthcare policy. I’ve closely examined this legislation and believe it preserves American women’s existing right to access critical, lifesaving care with the support of trained medical professionals, regardless of the Court’s upcoming ruling. The bill would not undermine existing protections for healthcare providers who decline to perform abortions based on personal beliefs, while ensuring that women are still able to make decisions regarding their own body. Without these protections, this healthcare service would become more difficult to access for millions, and the lives of low-income Americans who cannot afford to travel to a state where abortion is legal will be put at risk.

“Unfortunately, this effort fell short. I’m deeply frustrated that our commonsense bill to protect this essential right is not advancing, and truly worried that the upcoming Supreme Court ruling will likely fulfill the clear, decades-long goal of conservative leaders to impose their personal and religious views on women across America. But despite today’s setback, we will continue looking for ways to protect the rights and healthcare of women across our country – because we cannot, and will not, return to a world that prevents women from making their own decisions about their body.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would safeguard the rights established by nearly fifty years of Supreme Court precedent following Roe v. Wade by protecting the right to an abortion prior to fetal viability. If Roe is overturned, WHPA would still protect access to abortion. WHPA would also address the growing number of state laws that undermine women’s healthcare rights by imposing medically unnecessary restrictions designed to block or impede access to this care.

WHPA does not place any requirements on doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals to provide abortion care, nor does it allow lawsuits against individuals who refuse to provide abortion care. WHPA says that doctors, nurses, and hospitals may provide abortion care if they so choose; not that they must do so. 

Next Article » « Previous Article