Nadler Statement on the Introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act

Jan 21, 2004

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today announced his introduction of H.R. 3719, the Freedom of Choice Act. His statement on the legislation follows:

I am pleased to join so many leaders in the pro-choice movement, and especially my colleagues, Senator Barbara Boxer and the bipartisan chairs of the Pro-Choice Caucus, to introduce the Freedom of Choice Act.

This legislation would, for the first time, codify the rights guaranteed under the Constitution by Roe v. Wade. It would bar government - at any level - from interfering with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child, or to terminate a pregnancy. I want to thank Senator Barbara Boxer for introducing this legislation in the Senate and for her tireless efforts in defending a woman's right to choose.

The introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act could not come at a more critical time. Thirty-one years after Roe, women’s rights are under attack as never before: from the states, from the courts, and from the Congress. Today, we face the very real danger that women will lose their right to choose. This Administration has made its goal crystal clear: they will stop at nothing to turn back the clock for women and their families. In the states, attacks on the right to choose have already eroded this right, and just recently, the President signed the first federal law since Roe criminalizing abortion. The threat is real, and it is not somewhere in the future.

For many years, people have been saying that the pro-choice movement has been crying wolf. Well, today, the wolf is at the door. We have to do something, and we have to do it now.

We have no choice but to place a woman’s right to choose into the law books. We must make sure that women are no longer at the mercy of a Supreme Court that is one vote away from destroying their rights. We must make sure that women’s rights are protected no matter where in this country they live.

The decision to begin or end a pregnancy is one of the most personal decisions a woman can make. The choice to have an abortion must continue to be a personal one for a woman, not the government. Prior to Roe, it is estimated that over one million women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions and risked infection, hemorrhage, sterility, and death. The Freedom of Choice Act will ensure that women are able to make these personal decisions safely, legally and privately.

It is up to the Congress to respond to the bi-partisan majority of Americans who believe that women should be treated with respect and should be allowed to determine their own destinies without governmental interference. That is why I believe Congress must pass the Freedom of Choice Act.