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October 7, 2011

House Pledges to Put Attacking Choice Ahead of Creating Jobs Yet Again

Legislation resurrects failed abortion-coverage ban, allows hospitals to refuse abortion care to women who will die without it

Washington D.C. - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the anti-choice House leadership’s announcement that they expect to hold a vote next week on H.R. 358 yet another sign of how anti-choice politicians in Congress are misguided and wildly out of step with the nation's values and priorities.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also told attendees of the “Values Voter Summit” that the House would hold a vote on H.R.358 as early as Thursday, October 13.

“As President Obama is urging Congress to focus on creating jobs, anti-choice House leaders are promising to move an extreme anti-choice agenda,” Keenan said. “It is unfathomable that the House will vote on a bill that, among other egregious provisions, would allow a hospital to refuse a woman life-saving, emergency abortion care even if she will die without it. House Speaker John Boehner and other anti-choice politicians do not have a mandate to attack women’s freedom and privacy. Lawmakers who vote for this bill will be forced to answer why attacking a woman’s right to choose, even in emergency situations where her life is at risk, has apparently become the new jobs agenda.”

In addition to the provision that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide life-saving abortion care to women, H.R. 358, authored by anti-choice Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), effectively would ban insurance coverage of abortion in state health-insurance exchanges, denying abortion coverage to millions of women.

Keenan said her organization, which already has channeled more than 600,000 messages to Congress in opposition to H.R.358 and other anti-choice legislation, will mobilize its members in advance of next week’s vote. Earlier this year, the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate funding for Title X family-planning programs. The House also passed legislation, H.R.3, which included a similar abortion-coverage ban and could subject rape survivors who choose abortion care to audits by the Internal Revenue Service.

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