Safeguard women’s rights, FFRF presses the Senate

Alyssa womens-march crop 2016The Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling on the U.S. Senate to preserve women’s reproductive rights in this country.

The state/church watchdog is submitting written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee to express its full support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that would protect the right to access abortion care throughout the United States, and to nudge the committee to send the legislation to the floor for a vote.

The Women’s Health Protection Act maintains abortion rights by nullifying state abortion bans. It would guarantee the right of patients to seek abortion care and of health care professionals to provide such care. Additionally, it would guard against medically unnecessary restrictions, such as mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods admitting privilege requirements and limitations on medication abortion.

“Abortion is an extremely safe and effective medical procedure,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Ranking Member Sen. Ted Cruz. “A 2018 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that serious complications are rare.”

By upholding medical standards, the Women’s Health Protection Act would safeguard against unnecessary state regulations that block women from exercising their constitutional right to privacy over reproductive health care, the testimony adds.

Furthermore, many of the current abortion restrictions are state-ordered mandates known as TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws that have unscientific, religiously motivated roots endangering women who seek abortions. The Women’s Health Protection Act would affirm that safe, legal abortion services are essential to women’s health and would enable health care professionals to provide abortion care without cumbersome restrictions.

Religiously motivated attacks on abortion rights have ramped up in recent years, the letter points out. Since 2019, 13 states have passed unconstitutional bans on abortion, including a total ban in Alabama and six-week bans in five states. The Women’s Health Protection Act will protect abortion access in every state, which has never been more essential given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to soon decide on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, and with at least 23 abortion-related appeals pending in federal appeals courts.

Almost six in ten Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, including 82 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 44 percent of white mainline Protestants and 55 percent of Catholics. However, 77 percent of white evangelicals believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most instances. Members of this hardline religious segment, at about a quarter of the population, are seeking to force their minority anti-abortion position on the majority via legislation, counter to public opinion and science.

In a secular nation, our laws related to health care, including abortion, must reflect science and promote the general welfare, including that of female citizens, as the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution requires, FFRF stresses. The Women’s Health Protection Act would codify the vitally needed right of health care providers to provide — and their patients to receive — abortion care without medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations and bans. That’s why it’s vital that it be passed into law.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members across the country. It protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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