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Anti-Choice Amendments Piling Up on Senate Budget plan -- Urgent Action Needed

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Washington_05_183.jpgNow that Congress has passed a stopgap measure to fund the government for the next few months, the political theater around next year's budget planning has begun. To stake their claim on the most out-of-the-mainstream anti-choice policies, some Senate Republicans have launched a barrage of amendments to the 2014 budget plan now under consideration.

Two of the growing list of amendments we're watching that could be particularly damaging to a woman's right to choose:

  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has filed an amendment that would attach to the budget resolution language to impose strict national regulations forcing parental involvement in the difficult abortion decisions of all young women. This amendment threatens any adult who may help a young woman in this difficult time -- even a caring grandparent or other family-member -- with prison time for a violation. The legislation is unworkable and was opposed in an earlier incarnation by leading medical organizations.

  • Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has filed an amendment that would attach to the budget resolution language forcing a ban on abortion after 20 weeks for women in the nation's capital. Opponents of choice have long used the District of Columbia as an anti-choice proving ground and Lee continues the anti-choice legacy of undermining D.C. home rule. Last year, Lee went so far as to try to attach the same amendment to important, yet unrelated, cyber security legislation.

These amendments are so dangerous because there are currently only 41 reliable pro-choice votes on the Senate floor. That's the bare minimum required to filibuster anti-choice legislation. For that reason, NARAL Pro-Choice America has endorsed Rep. Ed Markey in the primary race to fill Secretary of State John Kerry's seat. Learn more about our work supporting Markey.

Call your Senator and urge him or her to reject any anti-choice amendments to the budget plan now on the senate floor. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or visit the Senate's information page to get in touch with your Senator now.

**Update**

Anti-choice politicians have filed two more amendments that threaten women's health and freedom, and may attempt to attach them to the Senate budget bill now under consideration:

  • Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) filed an amendment to repeal funding for the Affordable Care Act. Cruz and his allies in Congress have tried more than 30 times in the past three years to invalidate the law, which takes important steps to providing better health care for tens of millions of Americans. Importantly, the law improves women's access to reproductive-health care and includes a critical birth-control benefit.
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed an amendment which uses the red herring of addressing sex selection to intrude on the relationship between women and their doctors as they make a difficult health decision. Vitter's amendment encourages the Senate to pass a law that could put doctors in jail if they fail to report some women's suspected motivation for seeking abortion care. This would create an atmosphere of intimidation and suspicion in a situation where doctors and patients should feel free to have a frank and open conversation.

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