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February 26, 2008

Anti-Choice Sen. Vitter Driven by Politics--Not Policy

Washington, DC - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today criticized Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for injecting anti-choice politics into the debate over the Indian Health Service (IHS) bill. His amendment to "recodify" the Hyde amendment is redundant and unnecessary. The amendment passed this morning by a slim margin of 52-42.

"Sen. Vitter's amendment is a political ploy. Public funding for abortion care for IHS clients is already banned in almost all circumstances," Keenan said. "Unfortunately, Sen. Vitter's amendment is yet another example of how some politicians will try to distract the public's attention from our nation's real priorities, like fixing the economy and making health care more affordable. The public sees through this charade."

Current federal law prohibits any funding for abortion, except in the cases of rape or incest or if the woman's life is in danger. This law applies to Indian Health Service programs, too.

Keenan reminded pro-choice Americans that this is not the first time Sen. Vitter has attacked reproductive-health care. Just a few months ago, he unsuccessfully tried to cut off federal funding for many of our nation's family-planning clinics, which provide birth-control and other health services to low-income families.

"Vitter and his allies not only want to outlaw abortion, but they also want to block women's access to birth control," Keenan said. "Of course, birth control is the best way to reduce the need for abortion. The public is tired of this hypocrisy. We should be working on commonsense measures, such as improving access to contraception to help women and families prevent unintended pregnancy."

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