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July 16, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Praises House for Lifting D.C. Abortion Ban

House vote reflects President Obama's budget request, marks another major step toward reversing 15-year-old anti-choice policy

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tonight commended pro-choice champions in the House for leading passage of an appropriations bill that lifts a ban on Washington, D.C.'s ability to use locally raised funds to pay for abortion services for low-income women.

The House's action is consistent with President Obama's budget recommendation, which called for an end to the ban. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's elected representative in Congress, fully supported the effort to pass the bill.

Keenan praised Rep. Holmes Norton, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), and other pro-choice leaders for standing up to anti-choice attacks against the bill. The final vote tally included lawmakers who do not support legal abortion but understood the vote was an issue of home rule for D.C. residents.

"We commend the House for passing a bill that reverses this 15-year-old anti-choice policy that prevents Washington, D.C. from using its own locally raised funds to ensure women have access to the full range of reproductive-health options," Keenan said. "Congress doesn't tell any other state or local jurisdiction how to use its local revenue, so it's past time to end this unfair and discriminatory policy that usurps the D.C. government's decision-making authority."

Similar to the process in the House, last week the Senate Appropriations Committee, under the leadership of Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, rejected an anti-choice amendment to reinsert the D.C. ban. The Senate will take up that bill in the near future.

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