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Legislation Would Protect Reproductive Rights As States Attempt to Criminalize Abortion

Washington, D.C. — Today Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauded Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for introducing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), common-sense legislation that guarantees access to reproductive health care services. As legislators in several states are launching all-out attacks on women's health by restricting access to birth control, medically accurate sex education, and abortion, FOCA is needed now more than ever.

"Hardline state legislators are playing politics with women's health and it is high time the federal government stepped in to stop this game of jeopardy," said PPFA President Cecile Richards. "As the nation's largest reproductive health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood stands proudly with Senator Boxer and Representative Nadler."

FOCA would prevent the government — state and federal — from discriminating against a woman on the basis of reproductive health care decisions like having a child, using birth control, or having an abortion. The bill would forbid government interference in a woman's right to make private, personal family planning and reproductive health decisions and would also invalidate harmful laws, such as the law recently passed in South Dakota to criminalize abortion.

"Information and health care help women plan their families and prevent unintended pregnancy — restricting access to birth control and abortion do not," added Richards. "The Freedom of Choice Act would protect women's health and make families stronger."

Last month South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation that would criminalize abortion in South Dakota, and similar legislation has been introduced in 11 other states. The South Dakota abortion ban violates the fundamental right to privacy and the right of women to make their own health care decisions, and is intended to directly challenge Roe v. Wade. FOCA would secure reproductive rights under federal law, even if Roe is overturned.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Erin Libit (202) 973-4883


May 11, 2014