House Protects Access to Abortion Services

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives took strides to secure women’s access to abortion. In a 219-208 vote, the House approved a spending bill for 2010 that would allow Washington, D.C. to use local funds to help pay for abortion services for low-income women, reversing a previous congressional ban. Although this bill does not lift the ban on using federal funds for abortion services in the district, it does mark progress in broadening access to abortion for the women of Washington, D.C.

The House Ways and Means Committee also voted to approve a health care reform bill, HR 3200, despite opposition from some anti-choice members of Congress. The bill works to drastically increase the coverage and quality of individuals’ health insurance plans; however, some representatives attempted to amend the bill to limit the coverage of abortion services. From the National Partnership for Women and Families:

An amendment offered by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) was rejected in an 18-23 vote; Reps. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) were the only Democrats to support the amendment. The amendment included exceptions for abortion to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest. Committee members voted 19-22 to reject a similar amendment by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

President Obama has previously stated that he sees reproductive healthcare as ”essential care, basic care.” It is encouraging to see the House’s healthcare reform priorities in line with the President’s, and we hope to see more Congress members reaffirming how critical access to complete reproductive healthcare truly is.

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