Renewed Congressional Ban On DC Abortion Is Opening Salvo In Appropriations Process
DC Braces For Further Attacks on Home Rule
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June 15, 2011
For Immediate Release
In the opening salvo of a fresh assault on the rights of citizens living in the District of Columbia,
the House Appropriations Committee today released its Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services Appropriations bill
that would prevent DC's elected leaders
from determining the appropriate use of local tax dollars.
The Committee issued a press release claiming to maintain a "longstanding" ban on the use of local DC funds for abortion, though this ban was previously lifted by Congress
in 2009 and was not in effect for the first two decades of Home Rule in the District.
The 112th Congress has repeatedly denied the District the freedom to use its locally collected tax revenue to assist low-income women
in obtaining equal access to abortion services through Medicaid. This freedom is enjoyed by local jurisdictions across the nation, including 17 states that
provide local funds for insurance coverage of abortion. Representatives from 7 of these states have hypocritically called on DC Mayor Vincent Gray to ensure
that "no further taxpayer funds are expended for elective abortion," though they do not deny it to their own constituents.
One, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), also sits on the Appropriations Committee.
On June 8, 2011, DC Vote was joined by nearly 100 organizations from across the nation on a letter to members of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government,
where this bill originates, urging them to "oppose any effort to force Congress’ views on the District of Columbia."
"The hypocrisy of these members of Congress is outrageous, to deny tax-paying American citizens a say in how their tax dollars are
spent. DC Vote and our supporters call on Subcommittee on Financial Services Chairwoman Jo-Ann Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Flake and all members
of the Appropriations Committee to remove this ban and prevent any further encroachment on the right of citizens in the District of Columbia to
representative government," said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of the advocacy group DC Vote.
The House will have three opportunities to add (or remove) further social issue "riders" to the bill: at the markup by the
Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government in Rm H-140 in the Capitol on Thursday, June 16 at 10:30 AM, the full Committee
markup on June 23 and when the bill is brought to the House floor in early July.