NCJW Applauds Demise of House Effort to Limit Abortions in DC
July 31, 2012, Washington, DC — The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today applauded the failure of the HR 3803, the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban late-term abortions in the District of Columbia. The bill garnered a majority, but needed a two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives to win passage. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:
“NCJW has long supported the right of women to decide for themselves whether to seek an abortion, and we are gratified that HR 3803, a bill to ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy, failed to garner enough support to achieve the two-thirds vote required. The bill was an assault on women’s autonomy and on the right of District of Columbia residents to enact their own laws regarding abortion, as do the 50 states. The District’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, was not permitted to testify against the bill.
“HR 3803 would have permitted no exceptions for a woman’s health or in cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomalies, and also would have threatened criminal penalties against physicians who perform abortions after the arbitrary 20-week period. It was clearly intended to prevent women from making their own decisions about the health risk of continuing a pregnancy, the viability of the fetus, or the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy.
“The attempt to ban abortions in DC after 20 weeks was based on disproven claims that a fetus feels pain at that point in its development, despite evidence to the contrary. It is part of a trend well underway to ban later abortions state by state across the country. Since 2010, Nebraska, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana have enacted such bans. Just yesterday, US District Court Judge James Teilborg ruled that an Arizona ban did not violate Roe v. Wade since it did not prevent women from ending their pregnancies, although he conceded it might force them to decide earlier. His decision flies in the face of Roe, which held that states may regulate but not ban third trimester abortions, and it will be appealed to the US court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
Contact: Brianne Nadeau