Letter: An open plea to Sens. Hickenlooper and Bennet to ACT on Behalf of Women | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: An open plea to Sens. Hickenlooper and Bennet to ACT on Behalf of Women

In 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered a speech best known as “Ain’t I A Woman?”

In the speech, Truth pleaded, “I have borne 13 children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

Truth’s speech remains a timeless appeal, because women continue to struggle against efforts to deny them reproductive autonomy and independence, including that guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Women’s reproduction has been the euphemistic football of legislative politics.

The Women’s Health Protection Act deserves your attention and support. It would “establish federal statutory abortion rights for providers and patients …” Enacting WHPA could strike down harmful laws that infringe on abortion access whose purpose and effect is to make it difficult for pregnant persons to access care.

Congress has the power to protect pregnant people now. Under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment, Congress has the authority to enact legislation when state laws infringe upon or deny the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.

This is the important action Congress took when it enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect the right to vote. Congress expressly exercised its Section 5 authority to protect access to abortion services and health care providers’ ability to provide abortion services when it enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994.

Enacting WHPA will be a substantial improvement in the wake of unrelenting attacks on reproductive health. Unfortunately, government-forced pregnancies are now a part of our landscape and history.

Reproductive justice requires every individual to have the right to make their own decisions about having children regardless of their circumstances and without interference and discrimination.

It is time to enact the Women’s Health Protection Act. By passing this legislation, you will protect millions of Americans from harmful abortion restrictions that infringe on rights, burden health, and trample dignity. Even though you (Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet) voted to pass the WPA, the filibuster killed it. If necessary, do what needs to be done to protect women’s health care. Please.

Nancy Spillane

Oak Creek

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