Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3803, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Although nine other states have passed similar abortion bans, this is the first attempt to pass a law of this kind on a federal level. However, even the nine state laws include at least a narrow exception to protect women's health. This bill unfairly singles out the District of Columbia, but more importantly it lacks any health exceptions to the ban. Pregnancy can become dangerous, sometimes even life-threatening. This bill fails to provide women with necessary health exceptions to save their lives or their ability to have children in the future.
In addition to not protecting women who are pregnant, H.R. 3803 fails to provide exceptions in instances of rape or incest, even when it involves young girls. About 25,000 women become pregnant due to rape each year and about 30 percent of rape cases involve women under 18. This bill falls short in providing the necessary protections for these women.
I would have voted against H.R. 3803. Unfortunately my plane was delayed due to weather coming in to Washington, DC, causing me to miss the vote. I have been a strong supporter for women's health in the past and I plan to continue to do so.