The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

NARAL Pro-Choice America Calls on Congress to End War on Women in Nation's Capital

Attacks on choice another example of hypocritical agenda that is out of touch with nation’s values and priorities


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said her organization will mobilize its activists in select congressional districts as the first step in stopping legislation that would undermine the ability of women in Washington, D.C. to make personal, private medical decisions with their doctors.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on H.R.3803, a bill introduced by anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), to ban abortion at 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, without consideration for the woman's situation, including cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomaly. This hearing marks the latest attempt by anti-choice members of the House to continue their War on Women.

"We believe that women should be able to make personal, private decisions with their doctors, and without political interference," Keenan said. "This bill is especially outrageous because it takes decisions away from women who could be in tragic situations, such as rape or when a wanted pregnancy encounters health-threatening complications. The politicians behind this bill, who claim to support smaller government, are obsessed with attacking choice and willing to override locally elected officials to undermine the doctor-patient relationship. This agenda is out of touch with our nation's values and priorities, and that's why we will flood committee members' offices with messages of opposition to this far-reaching bill."

Earlier this year, NARAL Pro-Choice America joined Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, and other civic leaders at a press conference to denounce this legislation. District of Columbia resident Christy Zink, who had an abortion at 21 weeks after doctors delivered a tragic diagnosis of her much-wanted pregnancy. The fetus had severe anomalies and part of the brain had failed to develop altogether. If the ban proposed by this bill had been in effect, Zink would have been denied options at a time when she and her family needed them most.

Rep. Norton sent a letter to Rep. Franks, who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee, requesting permission to testify at the Thursday's hearing to speak behalf of the D.C. area residents. Rep. Franks refused to let her testify.

This extreme proposal is modeled after an abortion ban enacted in Nebraska in 2010. Since then, seven more states have followed Nebraska's lead, and now anti-choice organizations are pressuring Congress to override local elected leaders and impose this ban on the women of D.C.

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.