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July 9, 2012

House Continues to Wage War on D.C. Women

Bill banning abortion for women in tragic circumstances is third anti-choice measure anti-choice House leadership has moved in last four months

Washington, D.C. – One day before the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether to repeal the federal health-reform law that includes major advances for women’s health, a committee is set to move an anti-choice bill targeting women in the nation’s capital.

“This week provides yet another example of how anti-choice politicians in the House are obsessed with attacking women’s health and privacy,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “On Tuesday, a committee will advance a far-reaching anti-abortion bill targeting women in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, the House will vote to repeal the health-reform law that will provide millions of American women with better access to prenatal care, contraceptive coverage, and other basic services. This intrusive, extreme agenda is out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities—and we will fight it every step of the way.”

The legislation, H.R.3803, will go before the Judiciary Committee tomorrow will be the third stand-alone anti-choice measure that the House advanced in the last four months. In May, anti-choice leaders failed to secure the necessary votes to pass a divisive bill, H.R.3541, that was wrongly described as a symbol for women’s rights. In March, the Judiciary Committee approved a bill, H.R.2299, which would endanger the health and safety of young women and threaten caring grandmothers with jail time.

In working to expose the threat of H.R.3803, NARAL Pro-Choice America has joined Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, and other civil and reproductive rights leaders to amplify their opposition to anti-choice bills that would undermine the ability of women in the city to make personal, private medical decisions with their doctors.

H.R.3803 would ban abortion at 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, without consideration for the woman’s health or her situation, including cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomaly. District of Columbia resident Christy Zink, who terminated a pregnancy at 21 weeks after doctors found a cyst on the brain of the fetus and a follow-up MRI revealed severe anomalies of the brain, would have been unable to get the care she needed had this ban been in effect.

The House bill is modeled after an abortion ban first enacted in Nebraska in 2010. So far, eight more states followed Nebraska’s lead, and now anti-choice organizations are pressuring Congress to override local elected leaders and impose this ban on the women of D.C.

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