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Public Statements

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. I thank the gentlewoman from New York.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the rule and in opposition to H.R. 3, a bill that threatens women's health and access to care. Over the past 2 weeks, as I traveled in my district, the top-of-mind issues were the economy and jobs. Now that we're back in D.C., instead of working together on bills that move our economy forward, we're asked to debate divisive social policy. Clearly, the priorities of the Republican majority do not match those of the people of Hawaii.

There are those who will say that H.R. 3 maintains the status quo. Not so. H.R. 3 is an extreme, radical measure that could deny tax credits for small businesses, take us back to the days when a woman had to prove that she was a victim of rape, and violate women's medical privacy rights. Do you think small business owners have the time and needed expertise to determine if their insurance plans cover abortions? Do you want to take our country back to the days when a woman had to prove that she resisted her rapist? Do you want to share your medical history with an IRS audit?

I was a member of the State legislature in the 1980s in Hawaii when I worked with women and victim advocacy groups to change our sexual assault laws so that the prosecution focused on the perpetrator of the rape rather than on the actions of the victim. Our court system in those days, because of our law, victimized the victims of rape. Hawaii changed its laws. This bill takes us back to those days when a woman had to show that she resisted.

Hawaii was also the first State in the Nation to decriminalize abortion and give a woman the right to choose. The person who carried this bill in the legislature was Senator Vince Yano, a devout Catholic. Governor Jack Burns, a devout Catholic--he went to mass every single day--he allowed this bill to become law in Hawaii, in spite of the fact that he had a lot of pressure as a Catholic to veto this bill. He could have done so. He respected the right of a woman to choose.

I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this rule and this bill.


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