Republicans on Tuesday railroaded legislation codifying the ban on federal funds for most abortion care through the U.S. House of Representatives—their biennial tradition at the start of a new Congress.
As the GOP-controlled House voted 238-183 to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (HR 7), their colleagues across the Capitol calculated how to make the anti-choice goal a reality with a U.S. Senate version of the permanent ban.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (S 184), a companion bill to the House’s HR 7. Both would enshrine the annual appropriations rider known as the Hyde Amendment into federal law, reinforcing a significant barrier to abortion care for people with low incomes and people of color.
“Black women in our country are already suffering the harms of bans on abortion coverage, and rather than improving our access to necessary health services, the new Congress is obsessed with restricting abortion and doubling down on the Hyde Amendment,” Kierra Johnson, executive director of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equality, said in a statement.
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House Republicans have led the discriminatory legislation to passage every other January since 2011. The Senate has yet to take up a standalone version, and in the event that occurs, Democrats in the chamber would all but certainly mount a ferocious filibuster to prevent it from advancing.
“Already, too many women are denied abortion coverage because of how much they earn,” All* Above All Co-Director Destiny Lopez said in a statement about the “cruel and callous legislation” HR 7.
“This is all part of the Trump-Pence agenda to punish women,” Lopez said.
Both HR 7 and S 184 would have consequences beyond enshrining Hyde.
Wicker in a statement boasted that his bill, like HR 7, would codify other amendments obstructing federal employees and District of Columbia residents from accessing abortion care with federal funds. The amendment applying to federal employees takes its name from Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the lead sponsor of HR 7 and arguably the most abortion-obsessed lawmaker in Congress.
The bills include a Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KY) favorite, according to Wicker’s statement: requiring Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans to “disclose whether a plan includes coverage of elective abortion procedures, as well as the abortion surcharge embedded into abortion-covering plans.” Republicans are moving forward with ACA repeal through a fast-track process despite no replacement plan.