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March 13, 2008

NARAL Pro-Choice America Applauds Senate's Rejection of Two Anti-Choice Amendments to Budget Resolution

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tonight praised senators for defeating two divisive anti-choice amendments to the budget resolution, but she said the close votes illustrate for Americans the need for even more pro-choice lawmakers to stop attacks on freedom and privacy altogether.

"The Senate's defeat of these amendments is a clear sign that this Congress understands that Americans are tired of such desperate attempts to clog the legislative calendar with anti-choice politics," Keenan said. "Tonight, we blocked two anti-choice measures by razor-thin margins. Pro-choice Americans made tremendous gains in the 2006 elections and restored pro-choice leadership in Congress, but anti-choice members still outnumber pro-choice lawmakers in both chambers. Until the numerical composition of Congress matches America's pro-choice majority, we will continue to see dangerous and divisive assaults on the values of freedom and privacy."

In a blatant attempt to entangle the budget resolution in anti-abortion politics, Sen. Allard offered an amendment intended to codify a controversial Bush administration regulation, put in place in 2002, which allows states to make an embryo or a fetus – but not a pregnant woman – eligible for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The amendment failed, 52-46. Last year, a coalition of pro-choice and pro-life senators defeated a similar Allard proposal, which failed by a razor-thin margin of 49-50.

Fortunately, pro-choice senators also were able to block a second measure, Sen. John Ensign's anti-choice amendment modeled after the so-called "Child Custody Protection Act." This divisive and controversial proposal would prohibit anyone other than a parent—including a grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or member of the clergy—from accompanying a young woman across state lines for abortion care if the home state's parental-involvement law has not been met. This proposal jeopardizes the health and safety of young women who can't reach out to their parents for fear of violence, or in cases of rape or incest. The amendment failed on a tie vote of 49-49.

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