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January 11, 2023

Pressley, DeGette, Lee Introduce Resolution Condemning All Acts of Political Violence In U.S.

Legislation comes in response to GOP measure condemning attacks on anti-choice facilities

Pressley Delivered Scathing Floor Speech on the Resolution Earlier Today

Resolution Text (PDF) | Floor Speech (YouTube) 

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus’ Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, along with Reps. Diana DeGette (CO-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), introduced legislation today to condemn all forms of political violence in the U.S., regardless of its target or intent.

The resolution comes as a direct response to a measure House Republicans plan to vote on Wednesday condemning recent attacks on anti-choice facilities, but ignores similar attacks on those seeking or providing abortion care in the U.S.  

Sponsors of the Democratic-led resolution say the GOP’s blatant refusal to condemn the violence against pro-choice entities as part of their resolution sends a dangerous message that could further embolden the extremists behind such attacks.

Unlike the Republican-led resolution that condemns only the violence against anti-choice facilities, the resolution offered by the pro-choice leaders condemns all forms of political violence in U.S.

“Republicans are using their new House majority to continue pushing their dangerous anti-abortion agenda and mislead the public about what’s at stake in the struggle for reproductive freedom,” said Pressley. “Let’s be clear: these so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ are deceptive and illegitimate institutions that coerce vulnerable people and mislead them about the full range of reproductive healthcare options. Our resolution makes plain that we condemn all political violence. Meanwhile, Republicans are ignoring the real-life, dangerous consequences of their anti-abortion rhetoric. We stand in solidarity with all of the healthcare providers who should be able to do their job without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment – a devastating reality in my district and across the nation as right wing rhetoric incites violence against those who provide essential health care. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Pro-Choice Caucus for their partnership and I won’t stop fighting to affirm abortion care as the human right that it is.”

“There should be no place for violence of any kind in this country,” said DeGette, who serves as co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “By only condemning the attacks against anti-choice groups, and ignoring the growing violence against those providing or seeking abortion care in this country, House Republicans are sending a very dangerous signal to extremists across this country. It’s imperative that Congress remain united in condemning all forms of political violence in this country – regardless of who is behind it. Anything less will only embolden those who are spreading the hate-filled rhetoric that’s tearing this country apart.”

“Time and time again, Republicans have refused to condemn politically motivated violence—especially those that serve their political agenda,” Lee said. “Let’s be clear: violent, ideologically based attacks are unacceptable under any circumstance. The deliberate omission of abortion clinics and women’s health care facilities from this Republican-led resolution condemning violence is unacceptable and sends a dangerous message to extremists. As Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I stand in solidarity with healthcare providers, patients, and advocates across the country, and recommit to fighting these reckless attacks on reproductive freedom from the extremist right.”

There were nearly 7,000 acts of violence reported against women’s health care facilities in the U.S. between 1977 and 2015, including arsons, bombings, death threats, kidnappings and assaults. During that same period, there were an additional 190,000 acts of disruption reported against such facilities – including bomb threats and harassing calls to both patients and personnel.

Since 1993, there have been at least 42 bombings across the country aimed at facilities that provide abortion care. During that time, at least, 11 people have been murdered at clinics around the country – many of them doctors and personnel who were working at the facilities when they were attacked.

The resolution by Pressley, DeGette, and Lee would condemn all acts of political violence and attacks on health care facilities, personnel and patients. It affirms the right of all people to access reproductive health care services and medical advice without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment; and calls on the Biden administration to use all appropriate authorities to uphold public safety, protect health care facilities and safeguard health care personnel and patients.

A copy of the resolution is available here.

In her time serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has fought persistently to protect fundamental reproductive and sexual health care rights. 

  • Last year, Congresswoman Pressley, along with U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere. This bill has twice passed the House of Representatives and awaits passage in the United States Senate.
  • She  condemned the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, implored the Senate to protect abortion rights and slammed the white supremacist roots of anti-abortion efforts.
  • Congresswoman Pressley has been a consistent defender of medication abortion access. In March 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with then-House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Representative Cori Bush, wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra urging him to expand access to medication abortion. In February of 2021, Rep. Pressley led a letter and wrote an op-ed with Chairwoman Maloney on the importance of expanding access to medication abortion care. In June 2019, Rep. Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription.  In September 2021, Rep. Pressley issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s inaction on SB-8, Texas’ restrictive abortion law. Later that month, she participated in a House Oversight Committee hearing to examine the threat posed by abortion bans and underscored the urgency of the Senate passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. 
  • In April 2021, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), led a group of 131 Democratic members in reintroducing the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all people, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, are able to make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
  • As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has led the fight to repeal the Hyde Amendments from annual appropriations bills and in July 2020 published a Medium post on the need to do so. 
  • In May 2020, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.
  • In May 2019, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade.
  • In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services.