Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) moved to protect cancer patients from an effort which would otherwise ban all abortions in the District of Columbia (DC) after twenty weeks of pregnancy with extremely limited exceptions.
"My legislation would ensure that women have access to the care they need during what is often the most difficult decision and most challenging time of their lives," said Rep. Quigley. "The extreme agenda pushed by anti-choice advocates completely ignores the health interests of cancer patients, whose ability to undergo lifesaving treatments, including chemotherapy, can be hindered by pregnancy."
Rep. Quigley introduced an amendment to the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803) that creates an exemption for cancer patients seeking abortion services in DC. The bill was considered today by the Judiciary Committee, on which Rep. Quigley serves. Unfortunately, the amendment was not approved and H.R. 3803 will move forward without protections for cancer patients. To read Rep. Quigley's speech against this bill, click here.
H.R. 3803 imposes federal restrictions against women seeking reproductive care in the District of Columbia after twenty weeks of pregnancy. Several states have similar laws, which do not include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly, posing a serious threat to women's lives, health, and potentially their ability to have children in the future.
In addition to issues of reproductive freedom, the bill also reignites debate over District of Columbia home rule, which describes the extent to which DC residents are able to govern themselves through the jurisdiction of local elected officials. Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, DC was provided a city council and mayor, but Congress still maintains authority over the city's budget, reviews all legislation passed by the city council before it can become law, and can propose and pass legislation for the city without approval or input from local residents or legislators.
Rep. Quigley, now in his second term in Congress, has been a staunch supporter for a woman's right to choose and increasing access to women's health care services. He joined colleagues on the Pro-Choice Caucus to speak out against the D.C. abortion ban when it was originally introduced and also voted against efforts to restrict choice based on disingenuous claims of same-sex abortions. Rep. Quigley joined women's health advocates and religious groups to speak out for women's access to contraception and shared personal stories from 5th District constituents before Congress.