Chaka Fattah on Abortion
Democratic Representative (PA-2)
Voted NO on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion.
Congressional Summary:Prohibits the expenditure of federal funds for any abortion.
- Prohibits federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and health plans must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)
- Disallows any tax benefits for amounts paid or incurred for an abortion.
- Provides exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest; or life-endangering maternal condition.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Fortenberry, R-NE]: Americans deserve to know how the government spends their money, and they are right to refuse the use of their tax dollars for highly controversial activities--in this case, abortion. Abortion harms women. It takes the lives of children, and it allows a man to escape his responsibility. The abortion industry many times profits from all of this pain.
We can and must do better as a society, and at a minimum, taxpayer dollars should not be involved. This issue has manifested itself most intently during the health care debate. Unless a prohibition is enacted, taxpayers will fund abortion under the framework of the new health care law. Abortion is not health care.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act;
; vote number 11-HV292
on May 4, 2011
[Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY]: H.R. 3 is actually dangerous for women's health. By refusing to provide any exceptions to women who are facing serious health conditions--cancer, heart or whatever that may be--you are forcing women to choose to risk their health or to risk bankruptcy, and I think that is morally unacceptable. Under H.R. 3, a woman facing cancer who needs to terminate a pregnancy in order to live might have to go into debt over the $10,000 that the legal and necessary procedure could cost. Despite having both health insurance and tax-preferred savings accounts, this bill would prevent her from having that.
Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
Allows federal funding for research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:
- have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
- were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
- were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would otherwise be discarded; and
- were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Since 2 years ago, the last Stem Cell bill, public support has surged for stem cells. Research is proceeding unfettered and, in some cases, without ethical standards in other countries. And even when these countries have ethical standards, our failures are allowing them to gain the scientific edge over the US. Some suggest that it is Congress' role to tell researchers what kinds of cells to use.
I suggest we are not the arbiters of research. Instead, we should foster all of these methods, and we should adequately fund and have ethical oversight over all ethical stem cell research.
Opponents support voting NO because:
A good deal has changed in the world of science. Amniotic fluid stem cells are now available to open a broad new area of research. I think the American people would welcome us having a hearing to understand more about this promising new area of science. As it stands today, we will simply have to debate the bill on the merits of information that is well over 2 years old, and I think that is unfortunate.
The recent findings of the pluripotent epithelial cells demonstrates how quickly the world has changed. Wouldn't it be nice to have the researcher before our committee and be able to ask those questions so we may make the best possible judgment for the American people?
Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act;
Bill HR 3 ("First 100 hours")
; vote number 2007-020
on Jan 11, 2007
Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research.
To provide for human embryonic stem cell research. A YES vote would:
Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act;
Bill HR 810
; vote number 2005-204
on May 24, 2005
- Call for stem cells to be taken from human embryos that were donated from in vitro fertilization clinics
- Require that before the embryos are donated, that it be established that they were created for fertility treatment and in excess of clinical need and otherwise would be discarded
- Stipulate that those donating the embryos give written consent and do not receive any compensation for the donation.
Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions.
To prevent the transportation of minors in circumvention of certain laws relating to abortion, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act;
Bill HR 748
; vote number 2005-144
on Apr 27, 2005
- Allowing for exemptions to the law if the life of the minor is in danger or if a court in the minor's home state waive the parental notification required by that state
- Allocating fines and/or up to one year imprisonment of those convicted of transporting a minor over state lines to have an abortion
- Penalizing doctors who knowingly perform an abortion procedure without obtaining reasonable proof that the notification provisions of the minor's home state have been satisfied
- Requiring abortion providers in states that do not have parental consent laws and who would be performing the procedure on a minor that resides in another state, to give at least a 24 hour notice to the parent or legal guardian
- Specifying that neither the minor nor her guardians may be prosecuted or sued for a violation of this act
Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime.
Vote to pass a bill that would make it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. The measure would set criminal penalties, the same as those that would apply if harm or death happened to the pregnant woman, for those who harm a fetus. It is not required that the individual have prior knowledge of the pregnancy or intent to harm the fetus. This bill prohibits the death penalty from being imposed for such an offense. The bill states that its provisions should not be interpreted to apply a woman's actions with respect to her pregnancy.
Reference: Unborn Victims of Violence Act;
Bill HR 1997
; vote number 2004-31
on Feb 26, 2004
Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life.
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003: Vote to pass a bill banning a medical procedure, which is commonly known as "partial-birth" abortion. The procedure would be allowed only in cases in which a women's life is in danger, not for cases where a women's health is in danger. Those who performed this procedure, would face fines and up to two years in prison, the women to whom this procedure is performed on are not held criminally liable.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Santorum, R-PA;
; vote number 2003-530
on Oct 2, 2003
Voted NO on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research.
Vote to pass a bill that would forbid human cloning and punish violators with up to 10 years in prison and fines of at least $1 million. The bill would ban human cloning, and any attempts at human cloning, for both reproductive purposes and medical research. Also forbidden is the importing of cloned embryos or products made from them.
Reference: Human Cloning Prohibition Act;
Bill HR 534
; vote number 2003-39
on Feb 27, 2003
Voted NO on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info.
Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2002: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit the federal, state and local governments that receive federal funding from discriminating against health care providers, health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and any other kind of health care facility, organization or plan, that decline to refer patients for, pay for or provide abortion services. In addition the bill would expand an existing law "conscience clause" that protects physician training programs that refuse to provide training for abortion procedures.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bilirakis, R-FL;
Bill HR 4691
; vote number 2002-412
on Sep 25, 2002
Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad.
Vote to adopt an amendment that would remove language reversing President Bush's restrictions on funding to family planning groups that provide abortion services, counseling or advocacy.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Hyde, R-IL;
Bill HR 1646
; vote number 2001-115
on May 16, 2001
Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortions.
HR 3660 would ban doctors from performing the abortion procedure called "dilation and extraction" [also known as “partial-birth” abortion]. The measure would allow the procedure only if the life of the woman is at risk.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Canady, R-FL;
Bill HR 3660
; vote number 2000-104
on Apr 5, 2000
Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion.
The Child Custody Protection Act makes it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL;
Bill HR 1218
; vote number 1999-261
on Jun 30, 1999
Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record.
Fattah scores 100% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record
For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women's health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NARAL website 03n-NARAL on Dec 31, 2003
Emergency contraception for rape victims at all hospitals.
Fattah co-sponsored for emergency contraception for rape victims
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Prohibits any federal funds from being provided to a hospital unless the hospital provides to women who are victims of sexual assault:
- accurate and unbiased information about emergency contraception;
- emergency contraception on her request; and
- does not deny any such services because of the inability of the woman to pay.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This bill will help sexual assault survivors across the country get the medical care they need and deserve. It is hard to argue against this commonsense legislation. Rape--by definition--could never result in an intended pregnancy. Emergency contraception is a valuable tool that can prevent unintended pregnancy. This bill makes emergency contraception available for survivors of sexual assault at any hospital receiving public funds.
Every 2 minutes, a woman is sexually assaulted in the US, and each year,
25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. 50% of those pregnancies end in abortion.
By providing access to emergency contraception, up to 95% of those unintended pregnancies could be prevented if emergency contraception is administered within the first 24 to 72 hours. In addition, emergency contraception could also give desperately needed peace of mind to women in crisis.
The FDA recently made EC available over the counter for women 18 years of age and older. Despite the ideologically driven agenda against this drug, the research has been consistently clear--this drug is safe and effective for preventing pregnancy. Women deserve access to EC. For millions of women, it represents peace of mind. For survivors of rape and sexual assault, it offers hope for healing and a tomorrow free of painful reminders of the past.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; never came to a vote.
Source: Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act (S.3945) 06-S3945 on Sep 26, 2006
Rated 9% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance.
Fattah scores 9% by the NRLC on abortion issues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 NRLC scores as follows:
About the NRLC (from their website, www.nrlc.org):
- 0% - 15%: pro-choice stance (approx. 174 members)
- 16%- 84%: mixed record on abortion (approx. 101 members)
- 85%-100%: pro-life stance (approx. 190 members)
The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.
The National Right to Life Committee was founded in 1973 in response to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, legalizing the practice of human abortion in all 50 states, throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.
The NRLC has been instrumental in achieving a number of legislative reforms at the national level, including a ban on non-therapeutic experimentation of unborn and newborn babies, a federal conscience clause guaranteeing medical personnel the right to refuse to participate in abortion procedures, and various amendments to appropriations bills which prohibit (or limit) the use of federal funds to subsidize or promote abortions in the United States and overseas.
In addition to maintaining a lobbying presence at the federal level, NRLC serves as a clearinghouse of information for its state affiliates and local chapters, its individual members, the press, and the public.
Source: NRLC website 06n-NRLC on Dec 31, 2006
Access safe, legal abortion without restrictions.
Fattah co-sponsored S.217 & H.R.448
Congressional Summary: Congress finds the following:
Access to safe, legal abortion services has been hindered in various ways, including blockades of health care facilities; restrictions on insurance coverage; restrictions on minors' ability to obtain services; and requirements that single out abortion providers.
- These restrictions harm women's health by reducing access to the other essential health care services offered by the providers targeted by the restrictions, including contraceptive services.
- The cumulative effect of these numerous restrictions has been that a woman's ability to exercise her constitutional rights is dependent on the State in which she lives.
- It is the purpose of this Act to protect women's health by ensuring that abortion services will continue to be available and that abortion providers are not singled out for medically unwarranted restrictions
Opponents reasons for voting NAY:(National Review, July 17, 2014):
During hearings on S. 1696, Senators heard many myths from abortion proponents about the "need" for the bill's evisceration of all life-affirming legislation.
Source: Women's Health Protection Act 15_H448 on Jan 21, 2015
- Myth: Life-affirming laws are enacted "under the false pretext of health and safety."
Fact: Induced abortion is associated with significant risks and potential harms to women.
- Myth: "Where abortion services are restricted and unavailable, abortions still occur and are mostly unsafe."
Fact: Where abortion is restricted, maternal mortality rates have decreased.
- Myth: Admitting privileges laws are "not medically justified."
Fact: Women with abortion complications are told to go to an emergency department. This would constitute malpractice in any other scenario.
- Myth: Ultrasounds and their descriptions are "cruel and inhumane."
Fact: Allowing women the opportunity to view their ultrasounds serves an important role in providing informed consent, enabling women to exercise true choice.
Ensure access to and funding for contraception.
Fattah co-sponsored ensuring access to and funding for contraception
A bill to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce abortions, and improve access to women's health care. The Congress finds as follows:
Source: Prevention First Act (S.21/H.R.819) 2007-HR819 on Feb 5, 2007
- Healthy People 2010 sets forth a reduction of unintended pregnancies as an important health objective to achieve over the first decade of the new century.
- Although the CDC included family planning in its published list of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century, the US still has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies among industrialized nations.
- Each year, 3,000,000 pregnancies, nearly half of all pregnancies, in the US are unintended, and nearly half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.
- In 2004, 34,400,000 women, half of all women of reproductive age, were in need of contraceptive services, and nearly half of those were in need of public support for such care.
US has the highest rate of infection with sexually transmitted diseases of any industrialized country. 19 million cases impose a tremendous economic burden, as high as $14 billion per year.
- Increasing access to family planning services will improve women's health and reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and infection with sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptive use saves public health dollars. For every dollar spent to increase funding for family planning programs, $3.80 is saved.
- Contraception is basic health care that improves the health of women and children by enabling women to plan and space births.
- Women experiencing unintended pregnancy are at greater risk for physical abuse and women having closely spaced births are at greater risk of maternal death.
- A child born from an unintended pregnancy is at greater risk of low birth weight, dying in the first year of life, being abused, and not receiving sufficient resources for healthy development.
Focus on preventing pregnancy, plus emergency contraception.
Fattah signed Prevention First Act
Source: S.21&H.R.463 2009-S21 on Jan 6, 2009
Page last updated: Jan 22, 2017