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Mr. WAXMAN. Madam Speaker, I am wholly opposed to this legislation, and urge its defeat.
We have a lot of challenges in this country: high gasoline prices, high unemployment, an economy that is not growing strongly enough, crumbling infrastructure, a growing threat from carbon pollution and climate change, and two ongoing wars in the Middle East, among many others.
But rather than focus on issues that are front and center in the lives of Americans from all walks of life, what legislation does the Republican leadership choose to bring to the floor today? Not a bill for jobs. Not a bill for growth. Not a bill that will promote clean energy. Not a bill for education. Not a bill for infrastructure investment. Not even a bill that addresses the deficit.
Instead, the Republican leadership presents a bill whose relentless focus is to extinguish a woman's right of choice with respect to pregnancy.
We have already resolved this issue. Last year, we did so in the Affordable Care Act. That law clearly and unequivocally prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion; keeps state and federal abortion-related law in place; and ensures that those whose conscience dictates against abortion are protected, and not discriminated against.
But this is not enough for some. H.R. 3 will result in a virtual shut-down of abortion services in the United States.
In addition to making permanent the prohibition in existing law on any federal funding for abortion, H.R. 3 prohibits any federal funds from being expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. It establishes tax penalties for private expenditures on abortion. It provides a limitation on federal facilities and employees with respect to abortion. It again singles out the District of Columbia to prevent the citizens of that city from determining whether the local government can fund abortion services with its own revenue.
H.R. 3 is extreme, it is cruel, it is offensive, and it is wrong.
As I have stated in opposing other restrictive legislation on reproductive rights this year, this legislation will not become law. It is not what the American people are asking us to do. November's election was focused on jobs and economic growth. Its outcome was not a mandate to erode the rights of choice that are protected by the Constitution.
H.R. 3 turns the clock back to over 50 years ago. It should never have been brought to the floor and it should never be given the force of law. Not in the United States of America. Not in the 21st century. I urge its defeat.
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