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May 31, 2012

Pro-Choice New Jersey Voters to Pascrell: Where Were You?

Rothman votes against anti-choice bill; Pascrell a ‘no show’

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today commended Rep. Steve Rothman of New Jersey for voting against a far-reaching anti-choice bill.

Rep. Rothman was the only one of two incumbents running in the Garden State’s 9th Congressional District to cast a vote against the legislation. Rep. Bill Pascrell did not vote.

“Rep. Rothman kept his perfect pro-choice voting record in place today, something that New Jersey voters can depend on day in and day out,” Keenan said. “It is disappointing that Rep. Rothman’s primary opponent’s name is in the non-voting column. In the past, Mr. Pascrell showed up to vote anti-choice 21 times, yet he couldn’t be counted on to show up this one time to help defeat an anti-choice bill.”

The lawmakers behind H.R.3541, including its author, anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), wrongly described the legislation as a symbol of women’s rights. However, the bill does nothing to end sex discrimination or gender inequity, and many lawmakers who supported it also opposed equal pay and near-universal prenatal care. Under House rules, the bill required the support of two-thirds of the chamber’s members. It failed to garner the necessary number of votes.

“The Franks bill exploits the very real problems of sex discrimination and gender inequity while failing to offer any genuine solutions that would eliminate disparities in health-care access and information,” Keenan said. “Rather than attacking a woman’s right to choose, lawmakers with a sincere interest in addressing gender discrimination should support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society. This alternative approach would unify – not divide – our country and could achieve important advances without taking away any woman’s right to make her own personal, private medical decisions.”

Keenan also said the vote on this legislation is yet another example of how the anti-choice leaders in the House are out of touch with the country’s values and priorities. In 2011, the House held eight votes on choice-related issues (the highest number since 2000). Thus far, anti-choice House leaders have lined up no fewer than five separate bills with anti-abortion provisions for floor action this session.

“We just want voters in New Jersey’s 9th District to know that they have a consistent champion of choice in Rep. Rothman,” Keenan said. “That’s very important, given that anti-choice leaders in the House are obsessed with attacking choice.”

For more information about NARAL Pro-Choice America’s electoral work, please visit our Elections page.


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