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Bill Would Empower Local Officials to Expand Health Access and Rights in DC

WASHINGTON — Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform voted to pass the Washington D.C. Admission Act, a bill intended to give statehood to Washington, D.C. and its 700,000 residents who are currently being taxed without representation. During the markup, anti-reproductive health members of Congress also failed to restrict reproductive health care access even further.

Statement from Jacqueline Ayers, vice president, government relations & public policy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“For too long D.C. residents have been undermined by those in Congress who want to take away people’s health and rights. People in D.C. face significant barriers to accessing safe, legal abortion, even though there is District-wide support for expanding and protecting sexual and reproductive health care. It is encouraging that champions in the House are fighting to make sure that people in D.C. can have equal representation and can have their voices heard. Planned Parenthood Federation of America calls on Congress to pass this bill and give D.C. the statehood it deserves.”

During the markup, a dangerous amendment was proposed to limit reproductive health care options and interfere in the doctor-patient relationship in the new state of Washington, D.C. by seeking to restrict abortions later in pregnancy. This amendment is part of a broader agenda against access to health care, accurate information, and bodily autonomy. The new state of Washington, D.C. shouldn’t be subjected to any laws passed by Congress that other states aren’t also subject to. The amendment failed a full committee vote 16-21.

More than 700,000 people make their lives in D.C., which is more than the populations of Wyoming and Vermont and almost as many as Alaska, North and South Dakota. Yet, D.C. residents do not have federal representation, despite having paid more taxes than 22 states, and paying more to the federal government than they receive in federal benefits. In addition, Congress has unfairly prohibited D.C. from using its own local tax dollars to cover abortion care through Medicaid, impacting 55,000 women of reproductive age enrolled in Medicaid, disproportionally impacting women of color. The only way to guarantee D.C. residents equal representation in Congress as well as full control of the laws and budgets passed by their locally elected officials is to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act and admit the District of Columbia as the 51st state. 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.