Press Releases

Conyers: All-Male Republican Panel Says They Know Best About Women’s Healthcare Choices

Washington, DC, June 12, 2013

This morning, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a full committee markup of H.R. 1797, the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” The legislation was passed out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20 to 12.  Following the markup, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

“The legislation considered today by the Judiciary Committee represents one of the most far reaching bans on abortion that we have ever considered, and is a direct attack on women’s constitutional right to choose.”

“The Republican sponsors have tried to sugar coat the truth with a misleading title and pages of so-called ‘congressional findings,’ but the reality is plain and simple: This legislation is an assault on women, it is blatantly unconstitutional, and it ignores the real and very difficult challenges women face during their pregnancy. It bans legal and safe abortions and ignores science - and the good judgment of medical professionals, subjecting women to the reasoning of a panel full of men.

“What is equally, if not more troubling to me is my Republican colleagues' unanimous rejection of my amendment granting women victims of rape and incest an exception from this bill’s blanket ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Republican Trent Franks of Arizona even attempted to justify his opposition to my amendment by stating that, ‘the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.’ The callousness and scientific inaccuracy of this comment is reminiscent of Representative Todd Akin’s outlandish ‘legitimate rape’ comments last fall. And, as a 2003 study from St. Lawrence University points out, pregnancy as a result of rape occurs significantly more frequently than in other situations. While Rep. Franks later tried to backtrack on his comments, the sentiment was still abundantly clear that the Republicans don’t trust women to make their own healthcare decisions.

“Once again, my Republican colleagues are more concerned with legislating on matters of women’s personal health, than addressing the real life problems that women face.  Shockingly, not only are women absent from the majority’s legislation, but, with a panel comprised of 23 men, they are also completely unrepresented on the Republican side of the aisle.

“Women, and the American public, deserve better than the shameful antics that were on display today. No good can come from a panel full of men legislating women’s private healthcare decisions.”