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District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I will begin this discussion by asking the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Trent Franks, this question: Why is this measure limited only to women in the District of Columbia? And I yield to him for a response if he chooses to make one.

Then I will now go on with my statement.

The majority of this House, conservatives, can think of nothing better to do than to continue to wage a war against women and take up our time with these divisive issues. Here, we face the worst of economic crisis since the 1930s. So this is another attempt, yet another attempt, to undermine women's basic reproductive rights with appeals to ideology rather than to sound science.

Every pregnancy is unique and different, and, unfortunately, some women face difficult and emotionally devastating decisions in the course of their pregnancy that would require them to consider abortion as a health option. So we gather here this afternoon to recognize that this legislation is not needed, is opposed by the Nation's leading civil rights organizations, including: the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, the Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Catholics for Choice.

With that opening, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

May I inform my colleagues that the Planned Parenthood organization will score today's vote, as will NARAL Pro-Choice America score today's vote.

Now, Members, let no one be fooled, no matter what title you want to give the measure that's before us, it is a direct assault against the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade and represents another line of attack against women's reproductive rights. That's why there are so many women's organizations that are opposed to it and have been.

The measure imposes an outright ban on abortions before viability, even where a woman's health may be at risk. Do we really want to support that kind of legislation? In cases where a woman's life is endangered, it still requires a doctor to focus on the health of the fetus.

Furthermore, this measure will jeopardize a women's health, her ability to have children in the future, and in the case of rape and incest would force her to bear her abuser's child. Amazingly, the bill even fails to include an exception for young girls who are survivors of rape and incest.

When the American people expect us to focus on putting people back to work, as former Chairman Nadler remarked, this committee again plays politics with women's health. Don't support this measure.

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