Sen. Chris Dodd’s Statement on Reproductive Health Issues


In October, RH Reality Check developed a questionnaire for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, designed to help our readers distinguish between the various contenders' positions on sexual and reproductive health and rights — beyond the sole issue of abortion. Our questions were designed to get under the surface of the candidates' rhetoric on reproductive rights and clarify how far each one was willing to go to support concrete policy changes to back up his or her stated beliefs. In response, Sen. Chris Dodd's campaign submitted the statement below.

Dodd Has Been a Leader in the Fight to Protect Reproductive Rights. In 1995 Chris Dodd was an original cosponsor of Sen. Boxer's Women's Choice and Reproductive Health Protection Act, which among other things would have codified the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade guaranteeing a woman's right to choose. Dodd has repeatedly voted to protect choice, and since 1990, when the National Abortion Rights Action League began issuing numerical legislative scorecards, Dodd received a "100" rating twelve out of fifteen years.

Dodd Cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act. Chris Dodd cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act, the bill that would codify a woman's right to choose in federal law, three times. The Act would make it 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. It would bar federal, state, and local governments from passing laws forbidding women from terminating their pregnancies prior to fetal viability.

Dodd Supported Funding for Family Planning Programs and Emergency Contraceptives. Chris Dodd has repeatedly voted to fund international family planning programs, and voted to repeal the so-called "Mexico City Policy" (also known as "the global gag rule") which prohibits family planning assistance to foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or abortion counseling. In 1997, Dodd voted for the early release of family planning funds, and one year later voted against an effort to restrict U.S. contributions to international family planning programs. In 2003, Chris Dodd voted to require hospitals to make emergency contraceptives and information about them available to rape victims as part of the expansion of the States' Children's Health Insurance Program.

Dodd Supported Repeal of the "Gag Rule" That Forbids Communication Between a Woman and Her Doctor About Reproductive Decisions. In 1992, Chris Dodd voted to override President George H.W. Bush's veto of a bill that overturned the administration's "gag rule" preventing medical personnel from advising women on abortion at federally funded clinics. A year earlier Dodd also voted to prevent enforcement of the gag rule as part of the appropriations bill for the Department of Labor, HHS and Education.

Dodd Supported Choice By Voting to Allow U.S. Military Hospitals to Provide Reproductive Services. Chris Dodd repeatedly voted for measures that would repeal current law prohibiting overseas U.S. military hospitals and medical facilities from performing privately funded abortions for U.S. service members and their dependents.

Want More? We've Got It!

Check out Sen. John Edwards's completed questionnaire.

Check out Sen. Barack Obama's completed questionnaire.

What about the Democratic contenders who didn't respond to our questionnaire? We did their homework for them, mining through their previous public statements to find their positions, right here.

And the Republicans? Concrete information on the Republican candidates' positions and commitments on reproductive health and rights is harder to come by, since their websites generally only include information about the issue of abortion. But here's what we were able to come up with.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.