The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

Sen. DeMint Injects Anti-Choice Politics into Appropriations Bill

Anti-choice politician uses a spending bill to tell women and doctors they can’t communicate about abortion access through the nation’s communications systems


Less than a week after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass an extreme anti-choice bill, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has filed an anti-choice amendment to an appropriations bill related to agriculture, transportation, housing, and other programs. The Senate could take action on this measure as early as today.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said Sen. DeMint's amendment is similar to one the House of Representatives voted to insert into an agriculture bill on June 17. The amendment could bar discussion of abortion over the Internet and through videoconferencing, even if a woman's health is at risk and if this kind of communication with her doctor is her best option to receive care.

"Sen. DeMint is so obsessed with attacking a woman's right to choose that he's using an agriculture and transportation bill to advance his agenda," Keenan said. "Last week, anti-choice politicians in the House used an entire day to pass yet another anti-choice measure. Apparently, Sen. DeMint is trying to play catch up with the House. This kind of political gamesmanship jeopardizes women's health and privacy and is out of touch with our country's values and priorities."

Keenan also said banning any discussion or reference to abortion over the national communications system, as Sen. DeMint proposes, would have profoundly negative effects on women's health.

"What about a woman experiencing a high-risk pregnancy who is talking with her doctor through video conferencing?" Keenan said. "Under Sen. DeMint's extreme plan, if abortion came up in that doctor-patient conversation, the woman and her physician would have to go to a separate communications system. He's calling for an abortion-only version of Skype. It is impractical, ridiculous, and, most importantly, bad for women in rural or remote areas who would not be able to discuss the full set of options with their doctor."

Keenan also said that 87 percent of U.S. counties are without an abortion provider, making the notion of banning discussion of abortion between health-care professionals in rural areas even more alarming.

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.