WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Whip of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, introduced the HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022, legislation to increase access to reproductive and sexual health care services, including abortion, by creating an Ombuds for Reproductive and Sexual Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Ombuds would increase awareness of abortion resources across the country and monitor the spread of health care misinformation. Joining Congresswoman Williams in introducing the HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022 are Congresswomen Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Veronica Escobar (TX-16).
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Whip of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus said:
“As the assault on abortion rights continues, people are scared and confused as to what resources are available for them. The HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act will ensure everyone has timely, accurate information about their abortion rights. As we push to enact federal legislation protecting our right to abortion nationwide, Congress must also do all we can to ensure everyone gets information about access to evidence-based, medically accurate reproductive and sexual healthcare services.”
Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia said:
“As Republicans continue their attack on women’s reproductive rights, many women and their families are now struggling to access abortion resources and reliable information. Removing barriers and hurdles for people seeking abortion information and resources is essential for their healthcare. Today, I was proud to join Congresswoman Nikema Williams in further protecting women by introducing the HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022. The Ombuds will raise awareness on abortion resources and help limit the amount of misinformation being circulated. This is a strong step forward in protecting a woman’s right to choose.”
Congresswoman Sara Jacobs said:
“Like millions of Americans across the country, reproductive health care is my health care. Yet, Republican electeds at every level of government continue to put their personal beliefs before the health and well-being of Americans by stigmatizing, defunding, and criminalizing reproductive health care and services. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act to take politics out of these decisions — creating an office at the Department of Health and Human Services to provide information and data about reproductive and sexual health. We need to ensure that all Americans can make their own decisions about their own bodies, guided by facts, not politics.”
The HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022 is endorsed by multiple organizations including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Physicians for Reproductive Health, and National Partnership for Women & Families.
Mini Timmraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America said:
“The Ombuds for Reproductive and Sexual Health established by this legislation would further equip HHS to confront the abortion crisis we are currently facing. We are grateful for Congresswoman Nikema Williams’ longtime leadership in the fight for reproductive freedom and are proud to have her as a champion in our efforts to ensure that each of us has the freedom to decide.”
Karen Stone, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Planned Parenthood Action Fund said:
“Everyone deserves accurate, evidence-based information about sexual and reproductive health care–and the federal government must continue to play an active role in providing that information. The HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022 would create a designated position within the Department of Health and Human Services that would increase awareness of available reproductive and sexual health care services and how people can access them. Congress — and officials at all levels of government — should continue to do everything possible to address the public health crisis caused by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and this legislation is a step toward that goal.”
Dr. Jamila Perritt, President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and OB/GYN said:
“As a provider of reproductive health care including abortion care, I am glad to see Congresswoman Nikema Williams’ bill to establish an Ombuds for Reproductive and Sexual Health within the Department of Health and Human Services, and her commitment to ensuring access to evidence based, data-driven information about reproductive health care for all people. It is critical that we continue to provide people with information about how to obtain abortion care, where they can get that care, and how they can access funding and support when they need it. The HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act would also ensure that as people select their insurance plans, transparent information is available about whether or not the plan covers reproductive health services, including abortion care. In a time when laws are being enacted that are not based in medicine, it is so important to have federal protections in place that respect science, evidence, and transparency.”
Click here to read the text of the HHS Reproductive and Sexual Health Ombuds Act of 2022.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.