Congress Passes Spending Bill, Allowing Needle Exchange and Removing DC Abortion Funding Ban

Jodi Jacobson

Yesterday the Senate passed and sent to President Obama for signing a year-end funding bill for federal agencies that removes restrictions on funding for needle exchange programs and allows the District of Columbia to use its own funds to assist low-income women seeking abortions, among other changes.

Yesterday the Senate passed and sent to President Obama for signing a year-end funding bill for federal agencies that, among many other things, "reverses restrictions on some social programs that were put in place by former President George W. Bush and his Republican allies," according to a Reuters report in the New York Times.

If signed by the President by this coming Friday, the bill will:

  • Increase funding for needle-exchange
    programs for intravenous drug users, an intervention proven to reduce the spread of HIV and other infections;
  • Reduce funding for abstinence-only
    sex-education programs for school children would get less money;
  • Reverse a ban on Washington’s ability to use local funds
    to pay for abortions for low-income women.  States have the right to determine the use of their own funds, but Congress has previously refused to allow the District of Columbia to make this determination.

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