Last week, KGVO News interviewed President of National Right to Life, Carol Tobias, regarding the Women's Health Protection Act.

Late Friday afternoon, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, Martha Stahl, responded with her take on S. 1696, and how, in her view, it protects women and their healthcare decisions.

"Over the last two and a half years, we have seen a record number of bills passed and signed into law in states that have cut off women's rights to safe and legal abortion," Stahl said. "The Women's Health Protection Act would really be an opportunity to ensure that a women's constitutional rights don't depend on her zip code. That's why we are quite grateful to have the support of both Montana senators for the Women's Health Protection Act."

Last week, Democratic Senator John Walsh came under fire from National Right to Life for his support of the bill. Stahl provided her view of what the bill would accomplish if passed in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

"Basically, what it would do is make it unlawful for politicians to interfere with women's personal healthcare decisions," Stahl said. "Once the bill became law, many state restrictions that are now on the books could be challenged and found invalid in the courts. It wouldn't automatically overturn those state laws, but it would provide an opportunity for those laws to be challenged."

Stahl went on to  say that, in her view, many individual state laws have worked to limit access for women to healthcare of all kinds, not just abortion.

"For example, in Texas, we've seen a great many women's health centers close, not just abortion providers, because of these laws," she said. "I truly believe that women have a protected right to access to safe and legal abortions, but with the laws that have been passed in states it's turning into a patchwork of laws, where a woman's zip code really dictates what kind of healthcare she can get, which is not a good situation for healthcare in general, including for abortion care."

Stahl said that abortion and women's healthcare should not be left up to politicians to decide.

"We need to protect that doctor-patient relationship, and the ability for women to do what's best for them what they do in consultation with their doctor," Stahl said.

The bill was originally written and introduced by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

 President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, Martha Stahl



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