WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) this week to reintroduce the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would require states to regulate abortion providers in the exact same way they do other clinics and doctors, thereby removing harmful restrictions on women’s access to abortion services. A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Coons was one of 33 original cosponsors of the bill re-introduced on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision Thursday.

“A woman’s right to choose has been settled law for more than 40 years, and yet that right continues to come under attack,” Senator Coons said. “Women’s reproductive health choices should be between them and their doctors, and politicians should not be standing in the way. Congress should ensure that women and families have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, no matter their income level or where they live. We need to remain vigilant about protecting the rights of women and their families to make their own private health care decisions, and to ensure accessible and affordable reproductive care for Delawareans and all Americans.”

“Planned Parenthood of Delaware applauds Senator Coons for once again sponsoring this critical legislation to protect the health and lives of women in Delaware and across the nation,” Planned Parenthood of Delaware President and CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby said. “Reproductive health care is essential health care and no physician should be singled out for providing safe and legal medical procedures.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right and ability to determine whether and when to start a family by limiting harmful restrictions on access to abortion services. It would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to reproductive health services, like requiring doctors to perform tests and procedures that doctors themselves have deemed unnecessary, requiring women to make several separate – and potentially costly – trips to the clinic, or preventing doctors from prescribing and dispensing medication as is medically appropriate. These restrictions are unnecessary, extreme measures that do not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services. Instead, they aim to make abortion services more difficult to access.

If passed, this legislation would affect three restrictions currently on the books in Delaware:

  • Prior to giving consent, a woman must receive a state-mandated explanation of the abortion procedure and its effects that must include:  (1) a description of fetal development; (2) an explanation of the proposed procedure, its risks, and the alternative procedures; (3) the probable effects of the procedure on the woman's future childbearing ability and on possible future pregnancies; and (4) an explanation of alternatives to abortion. 
  • Delaware prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services. 
  • Delaware law restricts young women's access to abortion services by mandating parental notice.