For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass HR 51, a bill to grant statehood to Washington, DC, and finally give its residents full representation in Congress. This bill passed in the House of Representatives for the first time last year during the 116th Congress.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“Today’s vote is an important step toward a future where residents of Washington, DC have the rights and political representation enjoyed by their counterparts in all 50 states. For too long, Republican politicians have fought to deny residents of Washington, DC voting power in Congress—prioritizing an agenda of power and control over the well-being of District residents. Statehood for the District of Columbia is a long-overdue and critical element of advancing economic and racial justice, as well as ensuring that reproductive freedom is truly a reality for every body. It is imperative that the Senate swiftly vote to grant the District of Columbia statehood.”
Recognizing Washington, DC, as a state would help women, pregnant people, and families in the District who face tremendous barriers to accessing abortion care because of anti-choice politicians’ attacks on reproductive freedom. Through the appropriations process, anti-choice Republicans have repeatedly blocked the District from using its own locally raised funds to provide insurance coverage of abortion care for people with low incomes in the District—though the majority of the city’s residents support abortion access. The same people who are most harmed by these abortion restrictions are also bearing the brunt of the pandemic and systemic racism every day. If Washington, DC becomes a state, federal anti-choice Republican lawmakers will no longer be able to launch these attacks on reproductive freedom in the District of Columbia.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.