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NCHLA Action Center

Support Ban on Funding Elective Abortion in the District of Columbia


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Beginning with fiscal year 1989, Congress has approved the Dornan Amendment to prevent all congressionally appropriated funds, federal and local, from being used for elective abortion in the District of Columbia. The policy has remained in place every year except fiscal years 1994 to 1996 and, most recently, 2010. The ban was restored for fiscal year 2011 (Public Law 112-10).

As approved by House committee on June 23, the Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2434) continues the D.C. abortion funding ban: “None of the funds appropriated under this Act shall be expended for any abortion except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest” (Sec. 810). The committee rejected an amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), which would allow the use of local public funds for elective abortions.

In a letter sent to Congress during the 2009 debate, Cardinal Justin Rigali, then Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, noted that the distinction between “federal” and “local” funds is a bookkeeping exercise. “The impact in terms of human lives will be exactly the same as if the amendment were reversed in its entirety.” The evidence is overwhelming that “the availability of public funds for abortion greatly increases abortions.” Any lawmaker seeking to reduce abortion should support the DC abortion funding ban. See:

Plans by the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services Appropriations Bill were delayed. If the measure is formally considered on the House floor, it is anticipated an amendment will be offered to weaken or remove the ban on all public funding of elective abortions in the District of Columbia. Please continue to urge your Representative to oppose such an amendment and uphold the D.C. abortion funding ban in the bill.

ACTION: Contact your Representative by phone, e-mail, or FAX letter:

  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Representatives’ local offices.
  • Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center HERE.
  • Additional contact info can be found on Representatives’ web sites at:

MESSAGE: “During House deliberations on the Financial Services Appropriations Bill, please oppose any amendment to weaken or remove the ban on all public funding of elective abortion in the District of Columbia. Funding abortion will not reduce but greatly increase the number of abortions.”

WHEN: House floor consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services Appropriations Bill was delayed. Efforts to contact Representatives should continue. Thanks!
Updated 10/3/11

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