The House Just Approved a Bill That Restricts Abortion Coverage for Millions of Women
Just one day after Donald Trump reinstated a 32-year-old anti-abortion policy that affects women worldwide, Congress is showcasing its own dedication to rolling back women's reproductive rights—but unlike the new President, they're focusing on efforts at home rather than abroad.
On Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would effectively terminate all federal funding for abortion services and restrict abortion access for millions of women.
The legislation — known as HR 7 or, more formally, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 — is seeking to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment guarantees that no federal money is used to fund abortion services (passed in 1976, it was later updated to include exceptions for rape, incest, and threats to a mother's life). This overwhelmingly affected low-income women on Medicaid but also applied to millions of women on government-provided health care plans — like military personnel, federal employees, and Native American women.
Though the Hyde Amendment has been in effect for 40 years, it has never actually been a permanent law. Instead it's been attached to Congress's annual appropriations bill. Because of this, it could, in theory, be removed from national policy during any given year, but the HR 7 bill is seeking to make the provisions permanent. Once HR 7 codifies the restrictions into law, millions of women, especially low-income women, will be forced to either pay for a legal and constitutionally protected procedure completely out of pocket — or go without the reproductive care they need.
The bill would also effectively terminate abortion coverage for women who pay for their own insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Already 25 states adhere to this model, and HR 7 is trying to apply it to all 50. With HR 7, private insurance companies that work with the Obamacare exchange would no longer receive government subsidies if they included abortion coverage in their plan. Since the cost of health insurance is already high enough as it is, a price hike for a plan that does offer abortion coverage versus one that does not means that more people will likely choose the latter option (as Jamila Taylor, a senior fellow in women’s health at the Center for American Progress, told Vox). And for small businesses, HR 7 would revoke their tax credits if they gave employees plans that included abortion coverage.
"Congressional Republicans continue to ignore the voices of millions of Americans who marched just three days ago to demand respect and dignity for women," NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. "Today, amidst a flurry of executive and Congressional actions to make life harder for women here at home and around the globe, Republican leaders dug even deeper and passed a bill to deny many women the chance to buy insurance coverage that includes abortion — even if they pay with their own money."
"HR 7 is classic anti-choice overreach — mistaking an electoral win for a mandate — even though polls continue to show that the vast majority of Americans support legal access to abortion and don't want to be told what to do with our own bodies and our own money," she added. "This is classic obsessive behavior by Congressional Republicans, who prioritize these draconian measures in a country hungry for genuine economic progress and committed to expanding personal freedom. NARAL's 1.2 million members will make sure that voters know exactly who threw them under the bus come election time.”
Following Tuesday's vote, the bill will soon head to the Senate. If you would like to call your Senator to express your opinion on HR 7, you can find their contact information here.
More From Glamour:
• Donald Trump Just Reinstated a 32-Year-Old Antiabortion Policy
• Good News: Not Every State Is a Threat to Your Reproductive Rights
• Women's Groups Gear Up to Fight for Reproductive Rights in 2017
• The Hyde Amendment Has Obstructed Women's Healthcare for 40 Years
Photo Credit: Getty Images