The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

House Leadership Puts Anti-Choice Attacks Ahead of Jobs and the Economy

“Stupak on Steroids” proposal gets top billing, one day after House votes to repeal health-reform law


Today, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said
House leadership confirmed that attacking a woman's right to choose will
be a top priority in the new Congress. The proposed "Stupak on
Steroids" bill received the designation H.R.3, signaling its importance
to the anti-choice leadership.

"The news today is from Capitol Hill, but it might as well have come
from another planet," Keenan said. "As candidates, these lawmakers told
voters they wanted to focus on creating jobs while limiting the role of
government in our lives. Now, as these politicians take control of the
House, they want to be able to interfere in our personal, private
decisions, especially a woman's right to choose. They are out of touch
with our country's values and priorities. What happened to the jobs
agenda? How many people will be employed as part of their campaign to
attack a woman's right to choose?"

The politicians who "headlined" the event where the bill was
introduced came from both political parties, including Rep. Dan
Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Reps. Chris Smith of New
Jersey and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania. Pitts was hand-picked by
anti-choice groups to serve as chair of the Energy and Commerce health
subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over many programs important to
women's health.

Keenan said H.R.3, introduced by Rep. Smith, if identical to last
summer's version, is even worse than the original Stupak ban on abortion
coverage that was rejected during the debate on health reform. Keenan
said Smith's far-reaching bill would undermine women's freedom and
privacy in a number of ways:

  • It would ban coverage of abortion in the new health-care system and
    impose tax penalties on Americans with private insurance plans that
    include abortion coverage. Currently, 87 percent of private plans
    currently include such coverage.
  • It would narrow the already severely limited rape and incest
    exceptions in the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for
    abortion care. This new restriction would deny Medicaid coverage for
    abortion to survivors of statutory rape and any incest survivor who is
    18 years of age or older
  • It would reimpose the ban on Washington, D.C.'s use of its own local
    funds for abortion for low-income women, an unfair restriction which
    Congress lifted in 2009, and a move that President Obama supported.
  • It would recodify the ban on abortion care for women in the
    military, denying them access to abortion care at overseas military
    hospitals, even if they pay for the service with their own money.

Keenan also said that Speaker John Boehner and his top lieutenants
cosponsored "Stupak on Steroids" in the previous Congress. Boehner's
"Pillars of a New Majority," a compilation of five speeches that outline
his vision for the country, includes a speech before the National Right
to Life Committee in which he praises the legislation.

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.