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February 8, 2011

Anti-Choice Attacks on Women Take Center Stage

Starting today, House launches back-to-back hearings on anti-choice bills

Washington D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the anti-choice House leadership’s push to fast-track two extreme anti-choice bills—H.R.3 and H.R.358—through the committee process out of touch with the nation’s priorities and values.

The two bills already have sparked intense controversy. Last week, lawmakers said they would cave to public pressure and remove a provision in both bills that sought to redefine rape, but now a new version of H.R.358 includes a measure that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it.

“We have channeled more than 200,000 messages from our activists to Congress in opposition to this extreme and far-reaching agenda,” said Keenan. “The same anti-choice politicians who campaigned on creating jobs are now moving legislation that’s out of step with Americans’ values and priorities. The co-sponsors of these bills must be held accountable for such extreme attacks against women’s reproductive-health.”

Keenan said that if passed, both H.R.3 and H.R.358 would interfere in women’s personal, private decisions in unprecedented ways. H.R.3, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), is before a Judiciary subcommittee today. Among many egregious provisions, this bill would effectively block private-insurance plans from covering abortion care in the new health-care system and impose tax penalties on individuals and small businesses that purchase plans that include abortion coverage.  Currently, 87 percent of private plans include such coverage. 

H.R.358 is before an Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, February 9. In addition to the provision that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide life-saving abortion care to women, the bill, like H.R.3, would ban insurance coverage of abortion in the new health-care system.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has channeled 210,000 messages to Congress since November and recruited 20,000 new activists. Keenan submitted testimony on H.R.3 and H.R.358 to both committees on behalf of the organization.

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