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May 3, 2011

Boehner Resumes the War on Women

A Guide to the House Vote on H.R.3

On Wednesday, May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on H.R.3, the extreme anti-choice legislation that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called a top priority. This dangerous bill has 227 co-sponsors, exceeding the 218 votes needed for passage.

The focus on H.R.3 follows a recent outrageous decision by the anti-choice House leadership to bring the federal government to the brink of shutdown over its obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood. Had Boehner succeeded, millions of women would have lost access to birth control, cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care at Planned Parenthood centers across the country.

H.R.3 is Not About Public Funding

Speaker Boehner and other anti-choice lawmakers continue to mislead the public when they say the debate over H.R.3 is about taxpayer funding of abortion services. They’re wrong. Federal law is clear: sadly, federal funding of abortion care is prohibited. While we disagree with this unfair, discriminatory policy, the ban on federal funding of abortion care has been in place for more than 30 years.

H.R.3 imposes a series of tax increases on small businesses and many individuals in an attempt to end private insurance coverage of abortion care. Currently, 87 percent of private plans include such coverage.

If this bill were really about the public funding of abortion care, then why did the House Ways and Means Committee spend hours debating its impact on the tax code?

H.R.3’s Consequences for Women

Mother Jones revealed that among many other egregious provisions, H.R.3 could spur the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to audit rape and incest survivors who choose abortion care. A non-partisan congressional tax expert confirmed this before a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

NARAL Pro-Choice America teamed up with and EMILY’s List to galvanize activists against H.R.3 based on the shocking news that the bill could subject women to “rape audits,” and delivered nearly 135,000 signatures in opposition to the bill to Speaker Boehner.

The original language of H.R.3, and its companion bill, H.R.358, redefined rape to make it more difficult for sexual-assault survivors to access abortion care. While the House leadership caved to public outrage on that issue, both bills jeopardize women’s health. Notably, H.R.358 would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman abortion care even if she will die without it.

Finally, H.R.3 implements the core provision of the failed Stupak-Pitts amendment, effectively banning health-insurance coverage of abortion in the new health-care system.

Statement from Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

If you are writing stories regarding Wednesday’s H.R.3 vote, please feel free to attribute the following statement to Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“Despite facing intense public backlash for bringing the government to the brink of shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood, Speaker Boehner and his allies have made resuming the War on Women a top priority. On Wednesday, the House is set to vote on H.R.3. This bill is so extreme that it manipulates the tax code to advance anti-choice policies and could spur the IRS to audit rape and incest survivors who choose abortion care. Members of Congress who support this egregious assault on women will hear from outraged Americans through phone calls, protests, petitions, and most importantly, at the ballot box in 2012.”

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