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House Republicans Launch Campaign to Limit Abortion

Republicans in the House announced an orchestrated campaign to push the limits to restrict abortion access, including legislation on mifepristone, “partial-birth” abortion, and minors’ access to reproductive health services. In a front page story in the Washington Post, Republican leaders including House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) announced a strategy to limit abortion incrementally through multiple pieces of legislation while “deliberately avoiding” a direct attack on Roe v. Wade, instead choosing measures that would “resonate with most voters.”

Many of the measures mentioned are stealth strategies, craftily worded to mislead voters into thinking they are protecting women’s health rather than restricting abortion but which would make it impossible for many women to access essential reproductive health services, including abortion and contraception. The assault on abortion will begin with the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” a measure purportedly designed to protect women victims of violent crimes, but which could establish 14th Amendment protections for fertilized eggs, embryos, or fetuses. Mifepristone will be a target of the anti-abortion campaign as GOP lawmakers will attempt to limit who can administer the early abortion drug. House Republicans plan to introduce a federal abortion procedure ban supposedly directed at “partial-birth” abortion, a procedure that is not acknowledged by the medical community. In addition, Republicans hope to introduce abortion language to spending bills, imposing parental consent requirements on family planning funds and eliminating contraceptive coverage for federal employees.

Sources:

Washington Post - March 16, 2001 and Feminist Majority Foundation