(WASHINGTON) — California Congresswoman Judy Chu is the lead sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Along with the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act, these two pieces of legislation aim to cement protections to reproductive rights by ensuring a federal right to abortion and ability to travel across state lines to get an abortion although neither are expected to pass the Senate.
Chu spoke with “GMA3” about these bills, what needs to be done to protect women’s reproductive rights and the healthcare provisions in the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act.
GMA3: California Congresswoman Judy Chu, welcome back to the program. We hear they are not expected [to pass]. Your Women’s Health Protection Act has passed the House for a second time, did it in July. Realistically, it is not going anywhere in the Senate. So I guess what do you do with it now? What is the next step?
CHU: Well, it actually had a very close vote in the Senate, 49 to 51. But the Senate has that 60 vote filibuster requirement. And so what we need are two votes in the Senate. We need two votes that will eliminate the filibuster and also vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act.
There are two candidates that have said that they would do that, John Fetterman, who is a senatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, and Mandela Barnes, who actually won his primary last night in Wisconsin. It’s just two more votes that we need. And then we can make Roe versus Wade the law of the land, as it has been for 50 years.
GMA3: Congresswoman Chu, in a recent op-ed you wrote, “We are living in a post-Roe reality and every opportunity must be explored. We cannot leave one stone unturned.” Obviously, you just talked about the need you believe to abolish the filibuster. What else realistically can be done?
CHU: There is so much that we need to do. There are states that are putting ballot initiatives on this November ballot. And in fact, our state of California is making abortion a constitutional right on the ballot. But we also need to protect women’s rights to cross state lines and also ensure that women in emergency rooms can get the abortion care that they need regardless of what state they’re in, because that is a federal law.
We need to make sure that there is access to contraception and there is a program called Title Ten, actually, that has guaranteed that right and has fully funded it. We actually need to make sure that it is funded even further because we know that women will need to depend on contraception in order to ensure that they are healthy and that they can have the freedom to face their futures.
So there is much to be done, as well as helping women who may not be able to afford an abortion in their own state. There need to be ways to ensure that they have that ability in other states, and so funds are needed to ensure that they can cross the state lines and can have the hotel and travel expenses covered.
GMA3: Congresswoman, the vote in Kansas, overwhelmingly, voters there wanted to uphold abortion rights. What’s the significance, in your opinion, of what we saw in Kansas, beyond Kansas?
CHU: I was so encouraged by the vote in Kansas. The vote was overwhelming. It was an 18 point margin and this was in a state that is Republican and voted for [Former President Donald]Trump. But what the voters saw was that there was a need to ensure that we do not go backwards in this country, that young women have less rights than their grandmothers. Instead, they upheld the right to an abortion. They upheld Roe versus Wade. And in fact, actually, 70% of Americans believe that Roe versus Wade should be upheld. So I believe that they reflect the sentiment in this country.
GMA3: Congresswoman Chu, the Inflation Reduction Act, as you know, passed the Senate. It awaits a vote in the House. And among the things it purports to do, it will lower healthcare costs for families. It tackles climate change. But a lot of opponents say it really isn’t going to do anything when it comes to the inflation. We’ve just got the new numbers actually out, 8.5% for July. Will the Inflation Reduction Act actually reduce inflation?
CHU: I believe it will, in fact, immediately. It will lower costs for Americans. For one thing, there will be rebates and grants for Americans to be able to afford energy efficient appliances and solar panels, and therefore, they will be able to lower their utility costs. And immediately, there will be a $2,000 cap for seniors who are on Medicare for their prescription drugs so that they do not have to pay more out-of-pocket every year. And of course, there will be a limit on the amount that insulin will cost for those on Medicare, a limit of $35 a month. It is things like that that will enable Americans to afford to pay their own expenses. And because of that, it will lower inflation for sure.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.