The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

Anti-Choice Lawmakers Continue Their War on Women

Committee rejects effort to help women in Washington, D.C., passes far-reaching ban on insurance coverage of abortion


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today criticized members of the U.S. House of Representatives for continuing to attack choice at a time when Americans need them to focus on the challenges facing the nation.

The Appropriations Committee yesterday rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that would have lifted a ban that prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised revenue to cover abortion services for low-income women, two years after anti-choice lawmakers reinstated this harmful ban. The amendment introduced by Rep. Lee would have restored the ability of locally elected leaders to decide whether to use the District's own money to pay for this health care.

"I am proud of pro-choice leaders like Rep. Barbara Lee who never waver on their commitment to ensure women can get affordable health care," Keenan said. "Unfortunately, far too many members of Congress are moonlighting as D.C. city council members. District residents did not vote for these anti-choice politicians to dictate how their local government provides services--in fact, these residents didn't vote for them at all. NARAL will work with leaders, like Rep. Lee, and other champions who stand up and fight against this egregious interference by anti-choice members of Congress."

Congress' meddling local affairs has severe consequences. In 2010, after Congress passed a budget deal reinstating the D.C. abortion ban, 28 women who had scheduled appointments for abortion services had their appointments cancelled because D.C. could no longer pay for this care. Fortunately, charitable groups helped these women, but women in similar situations since then have struggled to pay for their care.

In addition to interfering in D.C.'s local decisions, the panel also approved a far-reaching ban on abortion coverage in multi-state plans created under the health-reform law's new state-based exchanges. This amendment offered by anti-choice Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R- Ala.) goes even further than the current law in restricting abortion coverage in the new system, denying consumers the option of a private insurance plan that covers abortion. Currently, nearly 90 percent of private insurance plans cover abortion services.

"It's abundantly clear that waging a War on Women continues to be a top priority among anti-choice politicians in Congress," Keenan said. "Their ill-advised agenda serves as a reminder of how out of touch they are with America's values and priorities."

NARAL Pro-Choice America will remain vigilant in countering these efforts to undermine women's health.

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.