Congresswoman Escobar Leads Members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation Urging President Biden to Support Legislation to Protect Women’s Reproductive Freedom
El Paso, TX, September 17, 2021
“You can help protect access to abortion in our state, and nationwide, now by supporting the passage of this critical legislation and taking any other measures at your disposal to support abortion access in Texas and across the country.”
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), a Vice Chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus, led members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to publicly support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and asking the administration to issue a Statement of Administration Policy in support of the bill.
The letter, which was signed by ten members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, comes after the Supreme Court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban law (S.B. 8) to go into effect. This law is in violation of nearly 50 years of precedent set in Roe v. Wade and has forced nearly all abortion services to an abrupt stop across the state. S.B. 8 encourages vigilante lawsuits by allowing anyone to sue abortion providers and anyone they suspect of helping another person access an abortion.
“Since this moment also calls for legislative action to protect access to abortion across the country, we are writing to you to urge you to publicly support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and issue a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in support of the bill,” the lawmakers wrote to President Biden.
The lawmakers continued, “WHPA is a step towards creating a future where every woman—no matter who they are and where they’re from—is free to make the personal health decisions that are best for themselves, their lives, and their families, without political interference. When enacted, WHPA will help protect the right to abortion throughout the United States.”
“To put it bluntly, our constituents are seeing their rights stripped away before their very eyes, and efforts to ban abortion will not stop with those in Texas. We’re already seeing copycat bills — people hostile to reproductive rights have pledged to introduce them in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and we expect even more. We must stop this erosion of people’s constitutional rights.”
In the letter, the lawmakers highlighted the new barriers patients will face under S.B. 8, including new research from the Guttmacher Institute concluding that the Texas law will increase the average one-way driving distance for pregnant Texans seeking an abortion by twentyfold.
Finally, the lawmakers concluded the letter by underscoring the critical need for Congress to pass the WHPA to put an end to laws like S.B. 8 and create a statutory right for healthcare providers to provide abortion care and patients to receive that care, and by urging President Biden to support the passage of this legislation and to take measures at his disposal to support abortion access in Texas and across the country.
Joining Congresswoman Escobar are members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation: Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Al Green (TX-09), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Colin Allred (TX-32), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), and Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07).
Congresswoman Escobar is co-lead of the bicameral Women’s Health Protection Act which was introduced with historic support of 192 total co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 48 total co-sponsors in the Senate.
Full text of the letter can be found here.