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An Unconscionable Attack on the Abortion Rights of Women in Washington, DC

May 17, 2012

“The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution has launched an unconscionable attack on the right of women in the District of Columbia to access late abortion services,” said Jon O’Brien, the president of Catholics for Choice. “The hearing today on the misleadingly-titled “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is simply another means for antichoice members of Congress to expand their influence over the reproductive decisions that women make. HR 3803 seeks to place legislative restrictions on women’s access to abortion care by creating an arbitrary gestational limit. Making no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities, the antichoice policymakers behind the hearing betray their indifference to women’s unique circumstances and the conscience-based decisions they make to have an abortion. All this proposed ban would do is restrict access to safe and legal medical options for women, and further a moralistic, patronizing agenda that rejects the healthcare needs and civil rights of District citizens.

“As Catholics, we believe that the women of DC are no different than the women in the 50 states: they possess the moral wherewithal to make their own decisions about whether and when to have children. Our social justice tradition says that legislation that targets the most vulnerable in society cannot be justified by any ideology. Late abortions need to be available for all the reasons that come up in the situations that surround each abortion decision.

“Policymakers have a responsibility to listen to the people and their elected representative, DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Studies show that that’s what Catholics expect out of their elected officials. We also know that the majority of the more than 580,000 Catholics in the DC metropolitan area and the more than 68 million Catholics in the United States support policies that enable women and men to follow their consciences about their healthcare. Residents in the District of Columbia should be treated like residents throughout the US, and not be a dumping ground for poorly conceived policy.”