Boxer Announces Federal Bill to Codify Abortion Rights

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), flanked by pro-choice leaders, today announced new federal legislation to codify women’s right to choose abortion. “The Freedom of Choice Act of 2004 (FOCA) would establish a statutory right to choose within the same parameters articulated by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade,” said Sen. Boxer on the 31st anniversary of that landmark decision. The legislation would strike down any restrictions placed on abortion apart from those in Roe, so poor women would be able to obtain abortions through Medicaid, public hospitals would not be allowed to refuse to perform abortions, women in the military overseas would be able to obtain abortions at military hospitals, and women would not be forced to endure waiting periods and anti-choice propaganda before undergoing abortions. “We need to take steps to secure our right to choose,” said Boxer. “It is time to write Roe v. Wade into law.”

At a press conference today announcing the Act, Boxer was joined by leaders of the pro-choice movement, including Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority; Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women; Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood; and Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation. “What the United States does impacts not only American women but all women worldwide,” said Smeal. “One woman dies every three minutes from botched illegal abortions.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) also spoke at the press conference, emphasizing that a woman’s right to choose is in greater danger today than it has been since before Roe v. Wade. Holding up a picture of President Bush signing the abortion procedure ban surrounded by a group of anti-choice men, Lautenberg called the group a “male-archy” that sent “a clear message to the women of this country: ‘your right to make choices about your health and your body is in jeopardy.”

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Boxer press statement 1/22/04; NOW press release 1/22/04; Lautenberg press statement 1/22/04

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