Senate Appropriations Committee Addresses Two Abortion Restrictions


Thursday, July 25, 2013


Melissa Fowler
202.667.5881; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):

This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee took an important step toward lifting two separate bans on abortion coverage—one for women in Washington DC and the other for Peace Corps Volunteers. We commend the Committee for addressing these discriminatory policies, which have for far too long interfered with women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion care.

There is no justification for denying Peace Corps Volunteers access to the same basic health care coverage as other women in federal service. Since 1979, annual appropriations acts have restricted abortion coverage for Peace Corps Volunteers even in cases of rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life. This policy is not in line with other federal health insurance programs, many of which cover abortion care in these limited circumstances.

Women make up more than 60 percent of the more than 8,000 Peace Corps Volunteers who devote their time and energy in service to people around the world. These brave and selfless Americans rely on the government for the rest of their health care and should not be denied the same coverage for abortion care as other American women.

Anti-choice politicians should not use DC to advance their own ideological agendas. Although states may use non-federal funds to pay for abortion care, Congress has restricted DC from using its own locally raised funds to provide abortion care to low-income women except for a brief period of time between 2009 and 2011 when the ban was lifted.

This harmful ban has interfered with the rights of DC residents and has effectively prevented the DC government from assessing and meeting the needs of its community. When given the opportunity, the DC government has chosen to help low-income women obtain abortion care.
Politicians from other states shouldn’t be able to stop women in DC from accessing the abortion care they need.

We thank the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing these longstanding inequities and we urge Congress to maintain these changes as the budget process heads into its final months.


The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in North America. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women. Our members include private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for more than half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City.

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