The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

NARAL Pro-Choice America Marks Progress in Omnibus Spending Bill

Legislation includes repeal of onerous anti-choice policy in Washington, D.C., elimination of funding for discredited Bush-era ‘abstinence-only’ programs


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, commended
pro-choice leaders in the House and Senate for securing advances for
women's health and privacy and sound science in the omnibus spending
measure that is heading to President Obama's desk.

Most notably, Keenan praised Congress for lifting an onerous
anti-choice policy that blocked Washington D.C.'s elected leaders from
using locally raised funds to pay for abortion services for low-income
women. President Obama recommended lifting the ban in his budget
request to Congress and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's elected representative in Congress, fully supports repealing the ban.

"Contrary to anti-choice fabrications, ending this ban simply gives
the elected city leaders the ability to decide whether the District
will use its own locally raised funds to ensure women have access to
the full range of reproductive-health options, including safe, legal
abortion," Keenan said. "Congress doesn't tell any other state or local
jurisdiction how to use its locally raised funds, so it's past time to
end this unfair and discriminatory policy."

In addition to the progress for women in the nation's capital,
Keenan said the bill eliminates funding for two failed
"abstinence-only" programs and invests in evidence-based teen-pregnancy
prevention programs.

"I commend pro-choice leaders for putting sound science and teens'
health before political ideology," Keenan said. "This investment of
funding signifies an important step toward ensuring teens receive the
accurate information necessary to prevent unintended pregnancy and
avoid sexually transmitted disease."

In addition to these advances, Keenan outlined specifics on how the bill improves women's access to health services:

  • Increases funding for Title X, the nation's cornerstone program for
    low-income women, by $17 million, moving the total to $317 million. The
    basic care includes contraceptive services that help prevent unintended
    pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion.
  • Includes increases of $98 million for international
    family-planning programs and $5 million for the United Nations
    Population Fund, both critically needed programs that had been
    underfunded or cut altogether by former President George W. Bush.

Keenan said it was disappointing that the omnibus spending measure
maintains some anti-choice policies, most notably the Hyde amendment, a
discriminatory ban on funding for abortion care that denies low-income
women access to the full range of reproductive-health options,
including safe, legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue
to educate lawmakers about the adverse effect these policies have on
women and work for their eventual repeal in the future.

For over 50 years, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. Reproductive Freedom for All is powered by its more than 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.