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Bill Would Have Denied DC Women Access to Abortion in Virtually All Circumstances and Subject Doctors to Criminal Penalties

NOTE: Two-thirds of the House needed to vote in favor to pass the bill, and it only got 220 votes.

Washington, DC — As the nation’s leading advocate for women’s health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund denounces H.R. 3803, a bill that would have banned abortion in the District of Columbia.  This bill is the latest example of lawmakers opposed to women’s health playing election year politics and trying to insert themselves into a woman’s intensely personal and often complex decision.

 “Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatment.  Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  “Decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider.”

This dangerous bill, sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), would have denied a woman the ability to make a very personal decision about her pregnancy.  It would have prevented a woman from ending her pregnancy regardless of the threat to her health.  It also would have subjected doctors to harsh criminal penalties for performing abortions.

“The Franks bill is just the latest in a long series of legislative attacks on women’s health that some politicians in this Congress have undertaken from the moment this majority took office in January 2011,” said Richards.  “And with the election year upon us, we’re seeing policymakers go even further than they ever have before in inserting themselves into basic women’s health and economic issues.” 

Just weeks ago, the House Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee on Appropriations took up one of the most egregious attacks on women’s health to date.  The FY2013 spending bill sought to eliminate the Title X federal family planning program, prohibit Planned Parenthood health centers from serving women in federal health programs, block implementation of critical benefits under the Affordable Care Act, and revive the dangerous refusal provision that would allow any business or corporation to deny any essential health care service they object to, including coverage for birth control and cancer screenings.  None of these provisions would create a single job or improve the economy.