Denying statehood to Washington, D.C. has detrimental effects on local public health.

Without statehood, Congress has the power to veto any law passed by the District and local budgets must be approved by Congress. Unlike in the states, a law passed and signed by the D.C. mayor must still go through a Congressional review period before it can take effect. Even after a law takes effect, Congress–which has no representation from District voters–can still repeal the law.

Here are some recent examples:

COVID-19 Relief: 

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Congress passed a stimulus bill that provided every state with $1.25 billion in aid, while treating the District of Columbia as a territory and providing D.C. with less than half the funding received by each state. At the time, D.C. had more confirmed COVID-19 cases than 19 states. Without statehood, D.C. lacks the ability to ensure federal funding programs don’t shortchange people living in the District.

HIV/ Needle Exchange:

In 1998, Congress intervened and stopped the District of Columbia from using our own funds to pay for needle exchange programs, which states across the country were implementing at the time to slow the spread of HIV. When Congress finally lifted the needle exchange program ban in 2007, the District had the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country.

When D.C. was finally able to implement needle exchange programs after the decade-long ban, HIV infection rates dropped by 70 percent. In just two years alone, needle exchange programs prevented about 120 people from becoming infected with HIV and saved the District $44 million, according to a study by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

Abortion Access:

Congress regularly blocks the District from using our own local tax dollars to help low-income people pay for abortions. Specifically, Congress attaches a rider known as the Dornan Amendment to an annual appropriations bill, blocking the District from using local tax dollars to provide abortion coverage for individuals enrolled in Medicaid–something that all other states are free to do.

Bans on insurance coverage for abortion disproportionately harm poor women, and particularly poor women of color, forcing many to choose between paying for the care they need and paying for rent, bills, or other necessities.


How to talk to your pro-abortion friends and family about D.C. statehood

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