“Once again, conservative political extremists and Senators from both parties blocked a vote on, let alone passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). The final vote was 49 yea, 51 nay. Our Senators, sent to Washington to do the people’s work, continue to support filibuster to the detriment of the people who put them office. Here the filibuster rule wrongly enabled a minority of Senators to block what the people of this country need and want. The WHPA is federal legislation – passed by the House on September 24, 2021 – designed to bar states from enacting laws to restrict access to abortion to people who need it.
Passage of the WHPA is vital to our communities’ health and people’s bodily autonomy especially considering last week’s news that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion portends the Supreme Court reversing the longstanding precedent, Roe v. Wade. A full 69% of people in this country disagree with overturning Roe, erasing 50 years of abortion access, critical health care, for which our communities fought hard and upon which we rely. The research is clear: where abortion access is restricted, the greatest harms occur to Black and Brown people, LGBTQ people, people living in poverty and people living in rural areas. Alito’s reasoning threatens important case precedents impacting LGBTQ people, people of color, and others whose rights the people won after the Constitution was ratified.
In the last 24 hours, The Task Force mobilized hundreds of voters who sent close to a thousand letters to Senators, urging for their support of WHPA and sharing the dire impacts to their lives without federal protections in place. Today’s vote reflects an infuriating intertwining of racism, sexism, and classism. The possible overturn of Roe reflects the ongoing and escalating attacks on bodily autonomy, efforts that are profoundly wrong and harmful as well as unconstitutional.
The people elected U.S. Senators to uphold justice and equity – but some have chosen to use their positions of power to take away our basic human rights, our civil liberties, and our dignity. Each person deserves their humanity to be affirmed, protected, and celebrated. Where, as here, the filibuster undermines democracy, where it undermines our power to shape our families, our lives, and our futures, it must be set aside. Despite the historic gains we have made as queer people, conservative activists and lawmakers threaten these victories, accelerating anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-reproductive rights legislation as well as anti-democratic, often anti-Black, voter suppression. The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund has launched “Queer the Vote” a civic engagement campaign to engage, educate and mobilize LGBTQ+ rights supporters while creating paths to activate and organize with direct action. Together we can hold our elected leaders accountable in the 2022 Midterm Elections and continue to expand and leverage our collective power to rebuild and reclaim our Democracy.
The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund is at the forefront of advancing the rights of all LGBTQ individuals and communities in America. Our mission is to conduct grassroots organizing and lobbying on legislation and ballot initiatives to achieve justice for LGBTQ people.
The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund builds political power, takes action and creates change to achieve freedom and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and their families. As a progressive social justice organization, the Task Force Action Fund works toward a society that values and respects the diversity of human expression and identity and achieves equity for all.Kierra Johnson is Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.
Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
The Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with the National LGBTQ Task Force. The Task Force Action Fund is the oldest grassroots LGBTQ network in America advancing LGBTQ liberation on both local and national landscapes to promote more vibrant and livable communities for LGBTQ people throughout the country. The Task Force Action Fund’s goal is to enlist and mobilize citizen activists that will help ensure that LGBTQ inclusive public policies are adopted at the federal, state, and local levels.