House Committee To Vote On Lifting DC Abortion Funding Ban

July 7, 2009 12:00 am

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: (202) 675-2312; WASHINGTON – The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote this evening on a financial services appropriations bill that includes a provision lifting a 20-year-old ban on the use of local funds for abortions in the District of Columbia. The American Civil Liberties Union urges Committee members to lift the DC abortion funding ban and opposes any attempts to reinstate this restriction. “The federal government should not be in the business of telling the District of Columbia how to spend its own money,” said Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “The District of Columbia, like our 50 states, should be free to determine local health policy based on the needs of people living within its jurisdiction. The decision whether or not to become a parent should not depend on where you live or how much money you make.” Since 1980, Congress has prohibited the use of federal funds appropriated for the District of Columbia to pay for abortion services except in cases where the woman’s life is endangered and when she is a victim of rape. Beginning in 1988, Congress went one step further by also preventing the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised revenues to provide abortion care for low-income women. Congress lifted the ban in 1993 and 1994, but reinstated the measure one year later. The Obama administration set the stage for today’s vote in its 2010 budget proposal by giving the District of Columbia the same privileges as the states to use local funds to support abortion care for low-income women. “For far too long, this ban has allowed non-resident members of Congress to impose their own ideology, morality or religious belief on the District’s residents,” said Leveille. “Lawmakers who seek to negate the will of the District’s residents or leaders are not even accountable to the people of the District. It is well past time for Congress to do the right thing and end this abortion restriction.” For more information, go to: /reproductiverights/abortion/40235leg20090707.html. # # #

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