By Susan A. Davis
Women’s health care is under assault like we’ve never seen before.
States around the country are racing to enact bans on abortion, which will do nothing more than put women’s lives at risk.
So far, eight states have enacted bans. Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio have been described as passing bills that fall short of an outright ban. These so-called heartbeat bills prohibit abortions after six to eight weeks.
Since most women don’t realize they are pregnant until around 15 or 16 weeks, the laws in these states are outright bans.
The most extreme laws are coming out of Missouri and Alabama, where there are punitive measures included with their bans.
Alabama would jail a doctor for performing the procedure for 99 years. Missouri would subject women who seek an abortion to prison for up to five years. This law is not about preserving life, it’s about punishing women.
It’s also difficult to believe these laws are about protecting life when many states with restrictive abortion laws also have some of the highest rates of infant mortality. Where’s the legislation to bring down these rates?
The supporters of these bills are clear in their objective: to repeal Roe v. Wade.
It’s time to settle this issue once and for all.
Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) to codify the Roe v. Wade decision into law. I joined in introducing this legislation in May.
The WPHA is straightforward. It simply prohibits states from imposing the limits and restrictions being put on women.
Existing restrictions in some states require women to drive miles to visit a clinic, incurring travel expenses and having to miss work.
No one is pro-abortion. It’s an incredibly difficult decision for a woman to make. If abortion opponents want to really reduce the number of abortions, I invite them to join us in making child care more affordable.
Seventy-five percent of women seeking an abortion are economically disadvantaged.
Financial constraints are regularly cited in a decision to end a pregnancy. We need to help working families afford child care.
The Child Care for Working Families Act would do just that by creating a federal/state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth to the age of 13.
It would more than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance.
The Child Care for Working Families Act would also have a positive economic impact, creating 770,000 new child care jobs.
This new workforce of child caregivers will allow 1.6 million parents, primarily mothers, to go back to work. It would also lift 1 million families out of poverty.
Another way we can help hardworking Americans with family-related costs is to pass the FAMILY Act.
Taking time off work to care for a sick child or loved one can create an economic hardship. It’s time we provide paid leave for families who find themselves in this unfortunate situation.
These are proven policies that help bring down abortion rates.
Bans don’t end abortions, they just make them less safe, putting women’s lives at risk.
A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute found that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws have the highest rates of abortions.
Some states are recognizing this and moving in the opposite direction. In Nevada, where women are a majority of the state’s legislature, legislation has been passed to reduce restrictions.
Nevada is ending requirements mandating doctors to explain the emotional and physical implications of having an abortion. Nevada is also ending the more ridiculous provision requiring doctors to inquire about a woman’s marital status.
Illinois is also looking to reduce restrictions.
Congress needs to follow the lead of states like our own state of California as well as Nevada that understand a decision to get an abortion is best left to a woman and her doctor.
Let’s pass the Women’s Health Protection Act now.
— Congresswoman Davis represents central San Diego, including the communities of Old Town, Kensington, Mission Hills, University Heights, Hillcrest Bankers Hill, North Park, South Park, Talmadge, Normal Heights, as well as La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista.