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Friday, January 21, 2011

Republicans Try New Approach to Prohibit Use of District Funds for Abortion for Low-Income Women

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that the new House Republican majority has launched its first attack on the District of Columbia’s right to home rule, only two weeks after stripping the taxpaying residents of the District of Columbia of their vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole.

Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) yesterday introduced radical anti-choice legislation (H.R. 3) that would expand existing prohibitions on federal funding for abortion, and would re-impose the prohibition on the District’s use of its local taxpayer-raised funds for abortion for low-income women. During the past four years, Norton succeeded in removing all the bans on the District’s use of its local funds, including for needle exchange, abortion for low-income women and medical marijuana.

“The new Republican majority has spent its first three weeks preaching about the need to reduce the federal government’s power,” Norton said. “Yet the third bill they introduced this Congress prohibits a local jurisdiction from spending its own local funds.”

The bill represents a new and expanded way to interfere with the District’s right to self-government. Historically, Republicans have attached riders to annual appropriations bills banning the District from using its local funds for certain activities only during that fiscal year. Passage of this authorization bill would make it more difficult to remove the abortion ban, which Norton succeeded in doing in the 111th Congress.

Congresswoman Norton strongly opposes the entire bill.

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