Congresswoman Bush, Reproductive Justice Orgs Partner to Introduce Legislation to Protect and Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-Being
The bill would invest $2.5 billion in community-based sexual and reproductive health programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) introduced the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2022, legislation that would provide a comprehensive and holistic national response to protect and improve sexual and reproductive health and well-being. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, federal legislators have an even greater responsibility to address the longstanding gaps in sexual and reproductive health care—particularly the inadequate access and quality of reproductive care for Black, brown and other marginalized communities.
This legislation would center a holistic approach to reproductive care that includes addressing issues that impact sexual and reproductive health and well-being such as health care coverage, economic inequality, racism and discrimination, food and housing insecurity, environmental injustices and more. Everyone—regardless of who they are or where they live—should be able to choose if and when they become a parent, and have the ability to raise children in communities that are safe and sustainable.
“As a Black woman and single mom in America, I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet to support my family and how life-changing it would’ve been for us if I had access to a living wage, comprehensive and unbiased health care, stable and affordable housing, and a safe environment," said Congresswoman Bush. "By prioritizing the health and wellbeing of every person in this country, especially Black women and people capable of becoming pregnant, we can create a society that protects our right to bodily autonomy and nurtures and supports our children, families, and communities. Anti-abortion laws in states like Missouri could be a death sentence for Black, brown, Indigenous, disabled, LGBTQ+, low-income, and other marginalized communities. To fully address this crisis we need an inclusive, anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic response. That is why I am proud to partner with leaders and organizers in the reproductive justice movement to introduce the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act. This bill will save lives by ensuring that our health and well-being is no longer an afterthought — but a priority.”
“We at NBEC, along with our Reproductive Justice co-conspirators, are overjoyed Rep. Cori Bush introduced the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act and appreciate her continued commitment to personal bodily autonomy for all,” said Dr. Joia Crear Perry, Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. “With the creation of the Office of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-Being, there will be direct action to ensure all women and birthing people have the human right to health. It is truly a birth equity bill.”
Original co-sponsors of this legislation include Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Robin Kelly (IL-02).
The Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2022 would:
- Establish a new Office of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-Being within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- Direct the newly-established Office to develop a national strategy to address sexual and reproductive health equity and justice.
- Create an interagency task force comprised of all 15 federal agencies to coordinate the development and implementation of the national strategy on sexual and reproductive health and well-being.
- Establish a $2.5 billion reproductive justice and equity grant to support programs and services to improve sexual and reproductive health and well-being, including access to health care, doula care, legal aid, housing and food assistance, comprehensive sex ed, and behavioral health counseling.
This legislation is endorsed by: National Birth Equity Collaborative, SisterSong – The National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Power to Decide, Catholics for Choice, Reproductive Health Access Project, Nurses For Sexual and Reproductive Health, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women's Health Network, AIDS United, Positive Women's Network-USA, and Physicians for Reproductive Health
“The attacks on reproductive health and rights threaten the human rights and lives of Black women and birthing people. We applaud Rep. Bush for introducing the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act, comprehensive legislation that will help ensure access to the full range of reproductive health care services, not just abortion but also maternal health care, contraception and other services. For Black women, Roe was always the floor, not the ceiling; it was the bare minimum of reproductive rights, not an expansive guarantee to Reproductive Justice. With the floor knocked out from under us, this legislation offers us both a lifeline and a vision for expanding our right to comprehensive reproductive health care,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda.
“We commend Representative Cori Bush for working to protect sexual and reproductive health and well-being, particularly for Black women and birthing people,” said Angela D. Aina, Co-founding Executive Director of Black Mamas Matter Alliance. “By taking a whole-of-government approach and investing heavily in community-based organizations, the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act takes actions that we urgently need in this moment.”
“Sexual and reproductive health and well-being (SRHW) is a key component of people’s overall health and quality of life. Achieving SRHW requires a whole systems thinking and “health in all policies” approach, yet systems are fragmented and inequities and injustices persist. Strong leadership must guide the necessary actions to further public health, redress historical and contemporary sexual and reproductive coercion, and to combat efforts to restrict access to SRHW services and social supports,” said Jamie Hart, Executive Director of the Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access.
“Power to Decide strongly endorses the Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Act, an urgently-needed measure to protect those communities harmed most by abortion bans—Black and brown people, and those struggling to make ends meet. This bill would not only provide needed funds for people to travel for abortion care, but also further the effort to incorporate the values of reproductive well-being and autonomy into the everyday work of our federal government,” said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH, CEO of Power to Decide.
“As an organization that seeks to fill critical gaps in clinical education and health care delivery by training, supporting, and mobilizing primary care clinicians across the country to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) strongly supports this comprehensive effort on behalf of the federal goverment to ensure that everyone, everywhere is able to access this critical and necessary health care,” said Lauren Riker, Director of Organizing & Advocacy of the Reproductive Health Access Project.
Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.