Text: H.R.3719 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/21/2004)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3719 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 3719

   To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the 
government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate 
                  a pregnancy, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            January 21, 2004

Mr. Nadler (for himself, Mr. Greenwood, Ms. Slaughter, and Ms. DeGette) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
                             the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the 
government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate 
                  a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Freedom of Choice Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The United States was founded on the principles of 
        individual liberty, personal privacy, and equality. Such 
        principles ensure that each individual is free to make the most 
        intimate decisions free from governmental interference and 
        discrimination.
            (2) A woman's decision to commence, prevent, continue, or 
        terminate a pregnancy is one of the most intimate decisions an 
        individual ever faces. As such, reproductive health decisions 
        are best made by the woman, in consultation with her medical 
        provider or loved ones, without governmental interference.
            (3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and 
        in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 
        U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized the right to privacy 
        protected by the Constitution and that such right encompassed 
        the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and 
        religious considerations involved in deciding whether to 
        commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.
            (4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balanced the rights 
        of women to make important reproductive decisions with the 
        state's interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe 
        v. Bolton, a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy 
        is absolute only prior to fetal viability, with the state 
        permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when 
        necessary to protect the life or health of a woman.
            (5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of 
        women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, 
        an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to 
        illegal abortions, despite the known hazards that included 
        unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, 
        hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death.
            (6) According to one estimate, prior to 1973, as many as 
        5,000 women died each year in the United States as a result of 
        having an illegal abortion.
            (7) In countries where abortion remains illegal, the risk 
        of complications and maternal mortality is high. According to 
        the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 
        pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 
        80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.
            (8) The Roe v. Wade decision expanded the opportunities for 
        women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned 
        Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed 
        that, ``[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the 
        economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by 
        their ability to control their reproductive lives.''.
            (9) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed a 
        constitutional right to choose whether to terminate or continue 
        a pregnancy, threats to that right remain, including possible 
        reversal or further erosion by the Supreme Court of the right, 
        and legislative and administrative policies at all levels of 
        government that make abortion more difficult and dangerous to 
        obtain.
            (10) 87 percent of the counties in the United States have 
        no abortion provider.
            (11) Legal barriers to the full range of reproductive 
        services endanger the health and lives of women.
            (12) Women should have meaningful access to reproductive 
        health services to prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby 
        reducing the need for abortions.
            (13) To ensure that a woman's right to choose whether to 
        terminate a pregnancy is available to all women in the United 
        States, Federal protection for that right is necessary.
            (14) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights 
        without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where 
        authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the 
        Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory 
        rights in areas of legitimate national concern.
            (15) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of 
        article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th 
        amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to 
        facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State 
        interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal 
        protection of the laws.
            (16) Federal protection of a woman's right to choose to 
        prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative 
        power of Congress, in part, because--
                    (A) many women cross State lines to obtain 
                abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent 
                a constitutional right or Federal protection;
                    (B) reproductive health clinics are commercial 
                actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical 
                equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-
                State suppliers; and
                    (C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, 
                nurses, and other personnel who travel across State 
                lines in order to provide reproductive health services 
                to patients.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Government.--The term ``government'' includes a branch, 
        department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other 
        individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a 
        State, or a subdivision of a State.
            (2) State.--The term ``State'' means each of the 50 States, 
        the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and 
        each territory or possession of the United States.
            (3) Viability.--The term ``viability'' means that stage of 
        pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending 
        physician based on the particular medical facts of the case 
        before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the 
        sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.

SEC. 4. INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROHIBITED.

    (a) Statement of Policy.--It is the policy of the United States 
that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, 
to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a 
pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or 
health of the woman.
    (b) Prohibition of Interference.--A government may not--
            (1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
                    (A) to bear a child;
                    (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
                    (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where 
                termination is necessary to protect the life or health 
                of the woman; or
            (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set 
        forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of 
        benefits, facilities, services, or information.
    (c) Civil Action.--An individual aggrieved by a violation of this 
section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a 
government) in a civil action.

SEC. 5. SEVERABILITY.

    If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision 
to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the 
remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons 
or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to 
be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.

SEC. 6. RETROACTIVE EFFECT.

    This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, 
ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, 
practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, 
or after the date of enactment of this Act.
                                 <all>

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