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Public Statements

District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to applaud, yes applaud, my Republican colleagues, who voted this week with the Democrats to reject the anti-choice legislation H.R. 3803 D.C., the 20 Week Abortion Ban Bill. This bill was rejected by a vote of 220 to 154.

Had it passed, H.R. 3803 would have contained no exception for rape or incest, for medically futile pregnancies, or for the health of the woman--forcing pregnant women facing medical complications to wait until their conditions become life-threatening before termination of the pregnancy becomes an option. Additionally, under this piece of legislation, doctors could face two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for performing abortions and could be sued by their patients or their patients' families.

This bill would have not only harmed women, but also is unconstitutional since this legislation absolutely goes against current law as established in 1973 by Roe v. Wade. Herein lies the irony of the bill, Republicans, especially those who are members of the Tea Party, constantly espouse their support and respect for the law, yet they conveniently forget the fact that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. Trying to circumvent that law, which this bill attempted to do, is in fact unconstitutional.

My colleague Delegate ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, who is the only duly elected representative for Washington, D.C. in Congress, was even denied an opportunity to testify during a hearing on this bill. Even the Republicans know that this bill is a travesty of justice!

No matter what a person believes about abortion, everyone can agree that we should reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortions. Abortion should be a last option, not a form of birth control. In order to reduce the demand for abortion, we must provide our children with comprehensive sex education and access to safe and affordable health care and birth control.

Since the Republicans want to deny women their right to choose, why not do something so that most women will not have to be put in a situation where they have to choose. So, I ask my Republican colleagues to join me in supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will provide the needed access to affordable health care and contraceptives and in doing so, not put women in the position where they have to consider abortion.


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