House Votes to Permanently Ban Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
Steven Miner, Social Policy Contributor
One of the biggest tasks Republicans promised to take during this congressional session was defunding Planned Parenthood. They haven’t quite gotten that far, but they managed to take a major step in the fight against abortions. On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.7 by a 238 to 183 majority to permanently ban taxpayer-funded abortions. Specifically, they voted to make the Hyde Amendment permanent, which “prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortion procedures.” The amendment normally must be renewed each year, unless this bill is also passed by the Senate and signed by the President.
House Speaker Paul Ryan released the following statement about H.R.7, also called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act:
Democrats voiced their frustration with the bill, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who claimed that the intent of the bill is to “end insurance coverage for all abortions, thereby making it nearly impossible for women to exercise their constitutional rights.” Rep. Linda Sanchez said that she is “sick and tired of […] men dictating to women as if we are stupid.”
However, a poll released just this month shows that 61% of Americans do not support taxpayer funding for abortions. Republicans also argue that this bill “simply makes permanent what is already renewed annually by Congress, and that it allows for transparency on abortion coverage in [health care] plans.” Considering that the Hyde Amendment has saved about two million lives since 1976, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, this definitely seems like an obvious piece of legislation.
Permanently extending the Hyde Amendment is a great first step for this Republican congress, assuming the Senate and President will approve. This is a clear sign that they have their sights set on defunding Planned Parenthood. That will certainly be a battle, but hopefully they’ll be up for it.
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