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January 5, 2011

NARAL Pro-Choice America Activates Nationwide Pledge to Stand Up to John Boehner houses mobilizing effort to fight against new speaker’s anti-choice agenda

Washington, D.C. –NARAL Pro-Choice America is urging the country’s pro-choice majority to take an oath to protect women’s reproductive freedom and privacy as Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who has said he wants to be the most “pro-life speaker in history,” is sworn in as the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that, although political observers universally agree that last November’s elections were about the economy and jobs, Boehner is set to the launch the fiercest attacks on a woman’s right to choose in decades.

“Today marks the beginning of the Boehner Bait and Switch. Boehner and other like-minded politicians campaigned on limiting the role of government in our lives, yet their actions prove otherwise. They want to shrink government to be just small enough to fit inside our bedrooms and our medicine cabinets,” Keenan said. “Americans did not give Boehner and his cronies a mandate to interfere in our personal, private decisions. We will turn the Boehner Bait and Switch into the Boehner Backlash, as the new speaker learns that his anti-choice agenda is out of step with our country’s values and priorities.”

Keenan also said that, in addition to next week’s vote to repeal the health-reform law, Boehner also scheduled a vote on a separate resolution urging committees to make changes to health-care laws, which could include a Stupak-like ban on abortion coverage.

NARAL Pro-Choice America’s microsite,, is a one-stop resource where fair-minded Americans may download a pro-choice oath and share it with friends. The site also includes a map that will display the hometowns of individuals who take the pledge.  In addition, the organization is advertising the site through ads on Facebook and Google. The site also outlines how Boehner and his allies intend to ban insurance coverage for abortion care and cut funding for family-planning services, including birth control and cancer screenings.


Background: Boehner’s Hostility Toward Women’s Freedom and Privacy

Since first joining Congress in 1991, Rep. John Boehner has cast 142 votes on abortion and other reproductive-rights issues. All 142 were anti-choice, including votes against improving women’s access to birth control, providing protections from violence for abortion providers and their patients, and allowing funding for abortion services for rape and incest survivors. 

Boehner would like Americans to believe that his agenda will focus on the economy and thus will not include attacks on a woman’s right to choose. But that’s not what he’s telling the anti-choice crowd. His actions and words say it all.

Key Points: Boehner’s Anti-Choice Activism

In June 2009, Boehner told the National Right to Life Committee that when “life takes a backseat to other priorities—personal comfort, economics—freedom is diminished.” (Boehner included this speech among the five speeches that form his “Pillars of a Majority.”)

Boehner recently told one anti-choice activist that he wants be known as “the most pro-life speaker” in our nation’s history.

Shortly after the 2010 elections, Boehner’s chief of staff met with anti-choice people, including Randall Terry, the notorious founder of Operation Rescue, who, after Dr. George Tiller was murdered inside his Kansas church in May 2009, referred to the abortion provider as a “mass murderer” and said that, “horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.”

Boehner’s lieutenants made sure they capitulated to the demands from the National Right to Life Committee and Americans United for Life, both of which called for Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) to be put in charge of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, which oversees multiple programs important to women’s freedom and privacy.  Pitts, who co-authored the infamous Stupak-Pitts amendment during the health-reform debate, will now oversee multiple programs that affect women’s health, from family-planning services to the health-reform law.

In addition, NARAL Pro-Choice America also compiled the choice-related composition of Congress.

For more information, please visit 

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