By Brett Wilkins / Common Dreams
The nation’s largest nurses union on Tuesday urged U.S. senators to “take a stand for reproductive health justice” following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade by suspending the filibuster and passing a bill codifying abortion rights.
In a letter echoing calls by progressive activists and lawmakers, National Nurses United (NNU) leaders implored senators to “urgently pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA),” proposed legislation that would ensure the right to abortion nationwide. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last September, but Republicans and right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia blocked it via the filibuster.
“Nurses understand that abortion is an essential part of healthcare, and that a patient’s right to control their own body is at the very basis of a free and just society,” the NNU letter states. “The Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization radically abolished 50 years of progress on reproductive rights and represents the largest revocation of healthcare rights and services ever in American history.”
The letter notes that the WHPA “establishes a statutory right for health professionals to provide abortion care without any medically unnecessary restrictions or limitations, and a statutory right of patients to receive that care.”
NNU said it stands with President Joe Biden—who has endorsed a filibuster carveout for the WHPA in the wake of Dobbs—in calling on senators “to suspend the filibuster to allow for a vote on this crucial legislation on the Senate floor without delay.”
“It is clear that suspension of the filibuster will be required to secure a vote on this bill,” the letter asserts. “The filibuster is an archaic and anti-democratic Senate rule, and it should not stand in the way of restoring women’s reproductive health rights.”
“The U.S. Senate has a solemn obligation to take immediate action to restore these rights and benefits by passing the WHPA,” NNU contends. “Lives hang in the balance.”