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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 9, 2009

Pro-Choice Americans Score Second Win in One Week As Senate Committee Votes to Lift D.C. Abortion Ban

Committee joins House counterpart in advancing President Obama's budget request to end 15-year-old anti-choice policy that harms women in nation's capital

Washington, D.C. – A Senate committee today defeated an anti-choice attempt to reinsert a ban on Washington, D.C.'s ability to use locally raised funds to pay for abortion services, adding momentum to NARAL Pro-Choice America's efforts to reverse this 15-year-old policy that blocks many women in the nation's capital from accessing safe, legal abortion.

The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected anti-choice Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kan.) amendment just two days after the House Appropriations Committee voted down a similar proposal from anti-choice Reps. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.). Both amendments would have continued a 15-year-old discriminatory policy that made D.C. the only local government whose own funds are subject to congressional control.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, commended Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin and other pro-choice allies for leading efforts to defeat the Brownback amendment.

"This week, we see a clear example of why elections matter—and how more pro-choice leaders in Congress and the White House can move us toward reversing dangerous and divisive anti-choice measures," Keenan said. "As these bills move to the full House and Senate, our activists are ready to work to ensure that Congress ultimately removes this discriminatory policy that blocks women's access to safe, legal abortion in our nation's capital."

Congressional action in each chamber reflects President Obama's recommendation in his budget request to Congress. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's elected representative in Congress, fully supports repealing the D.C. ban.

While celebrating this week's progress, Keenan also said she expected Sen. Brownback and Reps. Tiahrt and Davis, as well as their anti-choice allies in Congress and interest groups, to continue to distort the facts in their attempt to interfere with D.C.'s local affairs.

"Contrary to anti-choice fabrications, ending this ban simply gives the District's elected leaders the ability to decide whether the city will use its own locally raised funds to ensure women have access to the full range of reproductive-health options, including safe, legal abortion," Keenan said. "Congress doesn't tell any other state or local jurisdiction how to use its locally raised funds, so it's past time to end this unfair and discriminatory policy."

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Contact:
Samantha Gordon, 202.973.3032


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