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July 18, 2012

House Continues to Wage War on D.C. Women

Bill banning abortion for women in tragic circumstances adds to list of anti-choice attacks

Washington, D.C.One day after a House subcommittee released a spending bill attacking contraception and other women’s health priorities, another committee approved 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. “One day a committee votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and the next day another committee targets the reproductive rights of women in the nation’s capital. This agenda is out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities—and we will fight it every step of the way.”

The health-care spending bill released yesterday includes a litany of attacks on choice. It eliminates Title X, the federal program that provides contraception and other basic care to millions of Americans, and defunds the health-care law that will provide millions more women with prenatal care and insurance coverage of birth control.

Today, the Judiciary Committee passed H.R.3803, the third stand-alone anti-choice measure that the House has 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. An appropriations subcommittee released the anti-choice health-care spending bill yesterday.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has joined Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, and other civil- and reproductive-rights leaders to expose the threat of H.R.3803. The bill 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 have 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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