Students for Life of America was joined by students from across the Capital Area on December 19th to oppose the “Strengthening Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2019” . This act would eliminate common sense protections for women’s healthcare in the District such as sanitary regulations, administration of medication, medical staffing and more.
Click here to learn more about the danger this bill could cause DC’s women and families.
Students for Life had a strong presence and was able to testify in opposition to the bill, alongside Samuel Matthews, a student from the Catholic University of America, Mary Forr from the Archdiocese of Washington, Dr. Michael New, a professor at the Catholic University, and more. In addition, organizations such as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Catholics for Choice, etc., came in support of the bill.
The hearing began a bit after 10 AM, led by Chairperson Todd and Councilmember David Grusso, the bill’s sponsor. One of the first sentences spoken by Chairperson Todd when the hearing began was, “Today’s hearing is not about the legality of abortion; abortion is legal in all 50 states…Today’s hearing is not about the morality of abortion. I respect all religions and all religious beliefs…today’s hearing is concerned with eliminating any interference with any personal decisions and protecting reproductive freedom.”
This sentiment was fairly respected by pro-life witnesses, as he chose to discuss concerns with the bill’s specifics: the deregulation of abortion, and how it endangers women. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion groups decided to focus all of their testimonies solely on the very thing the council had asked not to get into: the morality and legality of abortion itself, and why they believe it is a human right. This was their only defense, and it was clear.
In addition, many of Planned Parenthood and company’s testimonies relied on the same few euphemisms and phrases, which did nothing to actually address concerns with the bill. Over and over again, words like “reproductive justice”, “right to choose”, and “people should have the right to create the families they want” were unpassionately thrown around.
However, D.C. is one of the least regulated cities in America when it comes to abortion. These phrases seemed hollow in attempting to describe one of the abortion industry’s most lax regions, and they did not justify any sort of actual need for this bill, which would only negatively impact women’s healthcare in the city.
It was stale, and the talking points felt recycled. One of the public witnesses could even be seen grabbing a copy of “her own” testimony from a Planned Parenthood coordinator seconds before walking up to the stand.
The D.C. City Council didn’t seem to mind this, and not only that, but they did not make any effort to appear unbiased. At the beginning, Councilmember Grusso blatantly thanked Planned Parenthood for their support and help with the bill and other members were found waving and exchanging “how’s the family?”-type pleasantries with some of the Planned Parenthood representatives in the audience.
It was a clear show of partiality, but that did not discourage us or our students! Many passionate pro-life testimonies were given. Samuel Matthews, a student at the Catholic University of America, had only flown in from studying abroad a few days before the hearing, and fighting jet-lag, felt urged to speak out. In his testimony, he stated,
“This bill could bring serious harm to women and families in our city, and I am greatly concerned about the future of healthcare for the women in my life: my sister, my friends, my future spouse, my colleagues, and for all of the women and families in DC this bill would impact… I can’t imagine a regressive bill of this sort even being considered for any other type of medical facility or surgical procedure. It is of utmost importance that we don’t let partisan bias and misleading bill titles distract us from the content of this bill and what might actually happen if it passes: women’s safety and healthcare standards will be compromised. Deregulation will be detrimental, and I, along with dozens of other student groups in the Capital Area, stand against B23-434.”
This testimony, among numerous others from Capital Area pro-life organizations shed light on a very real concern for D.C.’s future. Deregulation of healthcare does not improve healthcare. It could lead to enabling abortionists to get away with exploiting women in need of real care, and we will stand against this bill as it continues to move through the D.C. City Council. To get involved in our efforts, please feel free to reach out to Stephanie Stone at [email protected]