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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 4, 2006

CONTACT:

NAF Communications Department
202-667-5881
press@prochoice.org

National Abortion Federation Denounces "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" and Urges Congress Not to Interfere with Private Medical Decisions

Saporta: "Available science fails to support the conclusions drawn by the legislation and its required statement."

Washington - Today the National Abortion Federation (NAF), whose members provide compassionate care for over half the women who choose abortion each year in the U.S., announced their opposition to H.R. 6099, the "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act." Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of NAF, issued the following statement, denouncing the proposed ill-advised legislation:

Congress should not substitute political agendas for scientific knowledge. Women seeking reproductive health care deserve accurate, unbiased medical information.

Today NAF, along with six other organizations representing health care providers who serve millions of patients each year, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives (PDF file, 44K) urging them to oppose H.R. 6099, as it inappropriately legislates the way in which doctors care for their patients, substitutes political ideology for scientific evidence, and penalizes physicians for medically responsible patient care.

H.R. 6099 would require abortion providers to inform a patient seeking a legal abortion after 20 weeks that there is "substantial evidence" that a fetus may feel pain during an abortion procedure. This is accomplished by forcing women to read and sign a statement with inflammatory rhetoric that projects a level of certainty that far exceeds the scientific research. Available science fails to support the conclusions drawn by the legislation and its required statement.

Physicians already share relevant information with their patients about available health care options and respect the decisions made by their patients. This legislation intrudes upon the physician-patient relationship by requiring physicians to provide information that they may not believe is appropriate or accurate for an individual patient. Responsible medicine requires that patients and physicians be able to make treatment decisions together based on individual patient circumstances.

We fully support a woman's right to accurate and complete information about all issues regarding her care, but to require misleading mandated communication is a dangerous insertion of Congress into private health care decisions.

November's election was a victory for women throughout the country. Voters elected pro-choice candidates and rejected dangerous ballot initiatives that would have banned or restricted abortion access. By bringing up H.R. 6099 in the lame duck session, politicians are again playing politics with women's health care. We urge Representatives to oppose this legislation so that doctors and patients, not politicians, can continue to determine what constitutes medically appropriate care.

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org

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