U.S. House Votes To Permanently Ban Taxpayer Funding For Abortion

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Update: The House has voted to pass HR7, barring the use of any taxpayer money for abortions, and making the Hyde Amendment permanent. Continue to our original story to read more about the legislation.

This article was originally published at 12:35pm.

As if things weren't looking worrisome enough on the reproductive rights front, Congress will now consider two bills that would permanently end taxpayer funding for abortions.

On Tuesday, members of the House will vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a companion bill to No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, which was introduced earlier this month. These bills would make the Hyde Amendment permanent, and interfere with how public and private health insurance companies provide coverage for abortions.

Though the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions since the 1970s, it has usually been a budget rider that has to be signed off on by Congress each year. But if the House votes to approve the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Hyde Amendment would become permanent, and could only be reversed by new legislation.

Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All, denounced the bill in a statement to Refinery29.

"Already, too many women are denied abortion coverage because of how much they earn: HR 7 is cruel and callous legislation that would make these discriminatory bans permanent law," she said. "This is all part of the Trump-Pence agenda to punish women."

Kierra Johnson, executive director of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE), also noted that the bill would disproportionately affect women who are already at a disadvantage.

"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," she said. "Americans are more supportive than ever of keeping abortion legal, available, and covered by insurance. Shame on these out-of-touch politicians."

The Hyde Amendment does impact low-income women the most — for the 1 in 6 reproductive-age women who rely on Medicaid for health insurance, the Hyde Amendment keeps them from accessing safe medical care. After all, only 15 states allow Medicaid funding for abortions, and 60% of women live in the states that do not.

Needless to say, the future of reproductive rights looks pretty bleak. If you're worried about what's to come for women's reproductive health, the time has never been better to start taking action.
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