House Lifts 20-Year Ban On DC Abortion Funding

July 17, 2009 12:00 am

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: (202) 675-2312; WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives late Thursday passed the Financial Services appropriations bill lifting a 20-year old ban on the use of locally generated tax dollars for abortions in the District of Columbia. The American Civil Liberties Union has long pushed for an end to this restriction, arguing that the District of Columbia ought to have the right, like other states, to use its own local, non-federal revenue to provide abortion care to its low-income residents. Since 1980, Congress prohibited the use of federal funds appropriated for the District of Columbia to pay for abortion services except in the cases where a women’s life is endangered or she is a victim of rape or incest. Beginning in 1988, Congress took the additional step of preventing the District of Columbia from using its own funds to provide abortion care for low-income women. This violation of DC’s autonomy was relieved briefly for two years in 1993 and 1994. In his budget recommendation to Congress, President Obama requested that the District abortion ban be removed The following can be attributed to Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel: “With this vote, the District of Columbia is one step closer to the day when residents and their elected representatives can decide how to meet the needs of poor women in their communities. The District abortion ban marginalized District leadership and residents. For 20-years non-resident members of Congress have asserted their own ideology, morality or religious belief on the District’s citizens, utterly disregarding the needs or wishes of the broader community. We now await Senate floor action and urge that chamber to follow President Obama and the House’s lead and end the ban permanently.” # # #

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