Beyer Votes to Defend Americans’ Reproductive Health Freedoms

July 15, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) voted for strong legislation to defend reproductive freedoms in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure Americans’ right to make their own health decisions as Republicans launched a renewed push for a nationwide abortion ban. The House also passed the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, which would affirm the right to freely travel throughout the country to access reproductive care, a right that has already come under attack in some states.

“I voted with my colleagues today to protect Americans’ freedoms and their access to essential health care,” said Beyer. “In the weeks since the Supreme Court’s right wing majority overturned Roe v. Wade, Republicans rapidly began inflicting a cruel, extreme agenda across the nation as they seek to criminalize basic health decisions. The legislation we passed today would end these attacks on Americans’ rights and enshrine Roe’s protections in federal law.”

With its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed majority erased five decades of legal precedent – fulfilling the Republican Party’s longtime goal of ripping away Americans’ reproductive rights. At least eight states implemented extreme abortion bans the day of the Dobbs ruling, and right-wing lawmakers have begun implementing additional restrictions. Many are even seeking to impede Americans’ ability to access care across state lines and threatening to arrest doctors for providing care.  Republicans in Congress have also called for a federal law outlawing abortion in all 50 states.

These dangerous attacks are threatening the health, lives, and well-being of Americans across the country.  Health care providers are practicing in fear of criminal prosecution – leading to the delay and denial of life-saving care.  Women who have been denied an abortion face a range of harmful outcomes, including an increase in household poverty, a greater likelihood of staying in contact with a violent partner and heightened risk of maternal death.

The version of the Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine Roe v. Wade into federal law which passed today has been updated to address the Dobbs ruling. It would restore the right to an abortion nationwide – upholding all Americans’ freedom to make their own health care decisions as well as providers’ freedom to provide abortion care. It would also supersede state legislation – voiding all state-level abortion bans throughout the country.

The House also passed the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, addressing extremist Republicans’ attempts to restrict Americans’ freedom of movement. This legislation will prohibit any attempt under state law to:

•                     Impede an individual from crossing state lines to obtain a legal abortion;

•                     Interfere with a health care provider’s ability to offer legal reproductive care;

•                     Restrict individuals from helping others to seek a legal abortion; or

•                     Obstruct the transportation of FDA-approved abortion medication.

This legislation now goes to the Senate for its consideration.