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Results tagged “dc abortion ban” from Blog for Choice


Today, a key committee of the U.S. Senate was a supposed to consider a bill to give Washington, D.C. greater autonomy over its own budget.

But, the committee won't get a chance to because of...Sen. Rand Paul.

The junior senator from the commonwealth of Kentucky filed several amendments to the D.C. budget bill, including one that would permanently ban the District from using its own money to pay for abortion care for low-income women. Sen. Paul's anti-choice antics helped derail the entire bill.

This comes a day after the senator stuck a "personhood" amendment into a flood-insurance bill - delaying action just as hurricane season heats up.

Now, you may be thinking, for a guy who's supposed to be all libertarian and states' rights-y, this behavior sure looks like big-government overreach.

Here's what Sen. Paul had to say for himself, "We don't have [control] over the states, but we do for D.C."

So, there you have it: Sen. Rand Paul, or "why Congress can't get anything done."

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Standing Up for D.C. Women


Earlier this month, I told you about a new proposed abortion ban that specifically targets women in our nation's capital.

And when anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) held a hearing on the bill, he didn't even allow Washington, D.C.'s elected representative, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, to testify against it!

Today, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, spoke out at a news conference against these attacks on D.C. women's freedom and privacy.

She joined Rep. Norton, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, and other civil- and reproductive-rights leaders to amplify their opposition to anti-choice proposals that would undermine the ability of women in the city to make personal, private medical decisions with their doctors.


Nancy said that no woman's constitutional right to choose should depend upon her ZIP code or her income:

Unfortunately, too many members of Congress disagree with this core value--and they're using Washington, D.C. as a testing ground to interfere in the personal, private decisions that women make with their doctors. We have seen what happens to women in this city when some members of Congress try to play mayor or councilmember.

And since Rep. Franks is acting like D.C.'s mayor, some D.C. residents decided they'd take their problems to him.

Rats? Potholes? Let "Mayor Franks" take care of it!

Tell your representative to oppose attacks on D.C. women.

Attacking Choice: The New Jobs Agenda


Last fall, politicians campaigned on an agenda of creating jobs and growing our economy. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the anti-choice majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, said we needed to "be focused like a laser" on job growth.

So what have these politicians been up to? Let's look at the House's track record thus far in 2011.

In February, the House voted to eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood, a declaration of war on contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic health care that family-planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood, provide to millions of American women and men each year.

Also in February, the House voted to eliminate all funding for Title X, the nation's only family-planning program.

In April, anti-choice lawmakers exacted as their price for keeping the government open a budget bill that bans Washington, D.C. from using its own, locally raised funds to cover abortion care for low-income women.

In May, the House passed H.R.3, the outrageous "rape-audits" bill. H.R.3 manipulates the tax code to advance anti-choice policies and could spur the IRS to audit rape and incest survivors who choose abortion care.

Later in May, the House voted to dictate whether doctors and medical students can learn about providing abortion care.

And in June, the House passed a measure that could make it impossible for a woman even to talk with her doctor about medical abortion over the Internet or through videoconferencing.

Since January, the House has taken six votes that interfere with a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions.

How many measures to create jobs has the House passed?


Looks like Rep. Cantor's laser is really focused on attacking women's freedom and privacy.

And the anti-choice House leadership is not done yet.

This week, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R.358, the "Let Women Die" bill. H.R.358 would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care even when it's necessary to save a woman's life!

The jobs agenda? Ha! That was so 2010.

Have you had it with these never-ending attacks? Tell your representative to put a STOP to this War on Women.

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Highlights and Lowlights: Your Round-Up from the States


There was a flurry of choice-related headlines from the states this week--some of them very, very good, some of them horrid.

Let's get the horrid news out of the way:

The commonwealth of Virginia has seen more than its fair share of extreme attacks on a woman's right to choose this year. a state board voted to adopt politically motivated rules governing health centers that provide abortion care. The new regulations threaten to close 21 abortion providers. So, women lose access to abortion care as a result of the policies passed by anti-choice politicians. As Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated clearly, the personal is connected to the political:

These regulations, singling out women's health centers for burdensome and medically-unnecessary new requirements, remind us once again the importance of elections. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will be working in the next few months to hold anti-choice elected officials accountable by mobilizing voters to elect candidates to the state General Assembly who will not play politics with women's health.

Let's cross the Potomac and get back to Washington, D.C., where a Senate committee passed a bill that does NOT include the D.C. abortion ban. You know, it's the ban that blocks the city's elected leaders from using local funds to provide abortion care to low-income women.

(Yes, I know D.C. is not a state. That's why Congress has control over the city's local affairs in the first place.)

Our activists flooded Senate offices with tons of messages, so it's good to see this bit of progress, even though the bill has a long, long way to go.

Now...are you ready for the straight-up good news of the weekend? I thought so.

For that, let's go to the Granite State. (You know, the place where Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks the Revolutionary War started.) You might recall that a state council in New Hampshire voted to end a contract with Planned Parenthood that threatened thousands of residents' access to contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic care.

You may also remember one council member, Raymond Wieczorek, who expressed his thoughts on women who use contraception:

If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?

Well, this week, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (a past recipient of NARAL Pro-Choice America's Champion of Choice award) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will ensure that residents of the state continue to have affordable access to these critical services.

NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire summed it up in this way:

We applaud Sen. Shaheen for her leadership in standing up for women's access to basic, affordable health care in our state. The Executive Council played politics with the health care of thousands of New Hampshire men and women. The public outrage, combined with Sen. Shaheen's persistence and the Obama administration's decision to ensure women's access to contraception and cancer screenings, made this important victory possible. But we encourage New Hampshire residents to continue to let their elected officials know that blatant political attacks on women's health are unacceptable.

As we told our good friend Felicity Huffman, it's best to end on a good note.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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We just got back from Capitol Hill, where the anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to target women's freedom and privacy. These politicians are currently meddling in Washington, D.C.'s local affairs by pushing to extend the unacceptable D.C. abortion ban.

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Our Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents D.C. in the House and is leading the fight to stand up for D.C. women. Del. Norton is a tireless champion both of a woman's right to choose and Washington, D.C.'s right to manage its own local affairs.

Thank you, Del. Norton!

Next, we had a message to pass on to some of the anti-choice politicians who have made attacking D.C. women's right to choose a priority.

Their constituents back at home are wondering why their representatives are focused on interfering in women's personal, private medical decisions, instead of creating jobs and growing our economy. 

We delivered more than 5,800 petitions from pro-choice Americans in 27 targeted districts calling on the House to stop playing politics with D.C. women's health.

Anti-choice politicians may think they can tread on Washington, D.C., but Americans across the country are fighting back!

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Anti-Choice Lawmakers Continue to Tread on D.C.


Anti-choice leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives just won't stop their War on Women. Their continued target: women in Washington, D.C. 

This spring, as part of the budget agreement, they reinstated a ban on Washington, D.C.'s ability to use locally raised funds to cover abortion care for low-income women. When they did this, 28 women were affected in only 24 hours. These women who struggle to make ends meet were set to receive financial assistance for abortion care through Medicaid. But less than a day before their appointments, each woman was told that she would have to raise hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours.     

Now, these same anti-choice politicians want to extend the unacceptable D.C. abortion ban for another year. 

Imagine having your destiny changed on a whim by an anti-choice politician on Capitol Hill. It is outrageous that the same politicians who advocate for "smaller government" are interfering in both D.C.'s local affairs and women's personal, private medical decisions. 

See Donna Crane, our policy director, explain the negative effects the D.C. abortion ban has on real women:

Fortunately, Washington, D.C. is represented in the House by a true pro-choice champion, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. She's leading the fight to stand up for D.C. women and recently gave a shout out to the more than 19,000 NARAL Pro-Choice America activists who have called on the House to stop the attacks

Unfortunately, just yesterday a House committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to lift this unfair ban. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and José Serrano (D-N.Y.) all spoke out in favor of Rep. Lee's amendment, but they were outnumbered by anti-choice colleagues. 

Anti-choice Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) spoke in opposition to the amendment. She said she found it ironic that supporters of the amendment previously had voted against allowing people to use their own money to have the USDA inspect horses, but were now arguing on behalf of Washington, D.C.'s ability to spend its local dollars on abortion care.  

Rep. Lee responded, "These are not horses, these are women--and primarily women of color." 

Thank you, Rep. Lee! 


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Donna Crane is Policy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America

Could you imagine if the residents of Washington, D.C. (or their elected leaders) were able to tell your state or local government how it could spend its money?

You'd be outraged, right? Who elected these folks to tell you how your community spends its locally raised funds or how to treat women in need of legal, essential medical care?  

But D.C. isn't meddling in your state or city's business. Instead, anti-choice politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives are "summoning" D.C.'s mayor and other elected leaders to Capitol Hill for a hearing on budget matters

(Trust us. We will get to the irony of the very people who brought the federal government to the brink of a shutdown over budget negotiations taking issue with how D.C. manages its finances. But, we digress.)

So, when is all this going down?

On Thursday, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "The District Of Columbia's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget: Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability." Members of Congress have called Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chair Kwame Brown, and Dr. Natwar Gandhi, chief financial officer of D.C., among others, to testify before the subcommittee, ostensibly on the financial state of the District. you think the same politicians who injected anti-abortion politics into the debate over the federal budget will bring up abortion during this hearing on D.C.'s finances?

Please, need we ask? 

Last month, Congress outlawed the city's use of its own locally raised funds to provide abortion care to its low-income residents.  As if that weren't enough, 94 members of Congress then had the nerve to write a letter to the mayor insinuating that D.C. would not follow the new law. Adding insult to injury, the authors of the letter ignored the fact that their policy had already robbed 28 women of the funding they needed to get abortion care - and that was just in one clinic on the first day under this unfair ban!  Surely many more women in the nation's capital have been, and will continue to be, hurt by this divisive anti-choice agenda.  

So who is the politician overseeing this hearing? It's Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.   This newly elected lawmaker is one of those "small government" politicians who believe in local control in most cases, unless, of course, you're talking about D.C. or a woman's right to choose. 

(Hypocrisy alert!)

On his website, Rep. Gowdy promises to "rein in the ever-expanding scope of the federal government."  In addition, he makes this claim: "I strongly believe healthcare decisions are best left to individuals and their doctors, not Washington bureaucrats and politicians." But during his first four months in Congress, Rep. Gowdy has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and for H.R.3, a bill that manipulates the tax code to impose far-reaching restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion.

So, we have a plan to counter Rep. Gowdy and his "hearing." 

Instead, of dragging city officials to Capitol Hill to explain themselves before Congress, we think it's time that anti-choice lawmakers provide some answers themselves. We think the table should be turned; the mayor of Washington, D.C. should be able to ask Congress a few questions. So, Mayor Gray, in preparation for your hearing, here ya go:

1) Anti-choice members of Congress, your unfair ban is denying options to women in D.C. and forcing some to go to desperate lengths to scrape together the money for an abortion.  But, at the same time, you wanted to cut funding for WIC, Headstart, and other important programs that assist low-income families, refusing them the support they need to care for the children they have. How do you justify that?  

2) Rep. Gowdy, you and your anti-choice colleagues left 28 low-income women without options and unable to secure the health care they needed. They are my constituents and their well-being is my responsibility.What would you have me do now?  Are you ready to pony up the resources that these women - and women to come - will need because of the policy you imposed on us?

3) Rep. Gowdy, how would you like it if we came to your state and told county officials in your district how to spend their money?  You were not elected to represent D.C. residents, yet you set the policy for what we can do with our own locally raised funds. If you want to carry out a policy, why don't you do it in your own district?

4) Residents of the District of Columbia are taxpaying citizens; why are we being targeted, singled out, and made to carry a different burden than all other Americans?

5) Anti-choice members of Congress, your obsession with attacking choice nearly shut down the federal government.  This would have affected the daily lives of nearly 600,000 D.C. residents, and having to prepare for this possibility cost the city time and money. How can you call on District officials to account for our fiscal responsibility when you don't have your house in order? We passed our budget back in 2010 when we were supposed to. Did you?

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The War on (D.C.) Women


Today, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, joined with several of Washington, D.C.'s elected leaders--including Mayor Vincent Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Councilmembers Muriel Bowser, Michael Brown, and Mary Cheh, and other local officials--to speak out about the D.C. abortion ban's negative effects on women.

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Nancy had this to say at the press conference:

Once again, the so-called "small-government" politicians are interfering in D.C.'s local affairs as well as women's personal, private medical decisions. 

So, the question today for all of us who are frustrated with the current landscape is, "What's next?"

As a national organization that helps elect pro-choice candidates and fights to advance pro-choice policies, we know that we must change who sits in the House of Representatives.  

We will fight until no woman's right to choose is dependent on her ZIP code or income.

Kudos to everyone who came out to say, "Don't Tread on D.C. women!"

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Late Friday night, congressional leaders and the White House reached a budget agreement that keeps the government running.

Anti-choice leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives had threatened to shut down the U.S. government if their demands to defund Planned Parenthood and the Title X family-planning program were not met. 

This entire process has exposed just how far the anti-choice House leadership is willing to go to attack women's freedom and privacy. They are even willing to take our country to the brink of a government shutdown over issues that are unrelated to the budget deficit or other fiscal matters.

The good news from the budget deal is that funding for Planned Parenthood and other family-planning programs was saved. 

Special thanks go out to President Obama, pro-choice leaders in Congress, and, especially, the thousands pro-choice of Americans who lobbied their lawmakers on Thursday to stop the War on Women

It was your efforts that stopped a handful of anti-choice extremists from taking away millions of Americans' access to affordable contraceptive services, cancer screenings, and other basic health care.

NARAL Pro-Choice America worked hard to get this dangerous and unfair ban repealed in 2009. Now, Congress is back to telling D.C. taxpayers what they can and can't spend their own money on! 

Washington, D.C.'s elected officials expressed their outrage that D.C. women's health continues to be a target for anti-choice attacks. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray and other local leaders will be at a rally to protest the D.C. abortion ban. 

Meet outside the Hart Senate Office Building at 2nd & Constitution Avenues N.E. at 5 p.m. today to get your voices heard. Thanks to our friends at DC Vote for helping to organize this event.

We'll fight to change the choice-related composition of the House of Representatives so that we can repeal this discriminatory measure again.
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What Happened to "Moderate Mary" (Bono) Mack?


Amy Everitt is Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.


Rep. Mary Bono Mack, who represents California's 45th Congressional District, portrays herself as a moderate who keeps the interests of her constituents in mind. Well, in the last month, these constituents have reason to ask, "What happened to 'Moderate Mary'?"

As the U.S. House prepares to break for the August recess, Rep. Bono Mack will be back home, giving her constituents an opportunity to ask some questions:

1) Rep. Bono Mack, why did you vote to deny the citizens of Washington, D.C. the right to decide how to spend locally raised revenue?

Molly blogged about this recently, but in case you missed it, a 15-year-old policy prohibits the District of Columbia from using locally raised funds to pay for abortion services. This is principally an issue of home rule - as Congress doesn't tell any other state how to use its local revenues. Even some anti-choice members of Congress joined with their pro-choice colleagues in voting to lift the ban on July 16. Rep. Bono Mack sided with anti-choice extremists and voted against local control.

Was this just a one-time lapse in judgment? Let's go to question two.

2) Rep. Bono Mack, why did you vote to cut off funding for birth control and cancer screenings for women?

On July 24, we celebrated a great victory when the House voted to approve a spending bill that zeroed-out funding for the failed "abstinence-only" programs (which, as we all know by now, just don't work). On the way to this win, we had to beat back an amendment offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to cut off federal funding for family-planning services at Planned Parenthood. The Pence amendment really underscored the hypocrisy of anti-choice rhetoric: make abortion illegal but then deny women access to contraception. Doesn't make much sense, right? Several opponents of legal abortion ran away from Pence's extreme amendment, but not Rep. Bono Mack. She voted for it!

All of this leaves us wondering: Moderate Mary, where do you really stand on issues of choice? Because these two recent votes don't line up with the pro-choice constituents in your district. Email Rep. Bono Mack to let her know that you want answers to these questions. Or, better yet, if you see her while she's home, ask her in person.

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