Here's how House Republicans are kicking off their legislative term in the majority: Yesterday, a theatrical vote to repeal health care reform. Today, the "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act." Priorities!
We knew it was coming, of course, buoyed by the new regime: The chairman of the Energy Committee health panel, Rep. Joseph Pitts, and Chris Smith and Dan Lipinksi, the co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. (An identically-named bill was introduced in July but it never went anywhere.) If you're keeping track, there isn't currently taxpayer funding for abortion, thanks to the Hyde Amendment. Never mind; the act seeks to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. Here's the pro-choice response:
"These anti-choice politicians are out of touch with Americans' values and priorities," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL. "These same lawmakers voted to repeal a health-care law that provides prenatal care and the promise of no-cost birth control to women. Now, they want to make it even harder for women to purchase private health insurance that includes abortion coverage with their own money. Their hypocrisy is astounding. It seems that they're fine with government intrusion, as long as it involves interfering in women's personal, private decisions."
That's referring to what pro-choice groups consider the ripple effects of the bill. As Mother Jones reported, they are particularly concerned that the Smith bill would incentivize employers to offer health insurance plans that don't cover abortion, since it would prevent them from taking a tax deduction for any bill that did. About 86 percent of insurance plans currently offer abortion coverage; if employers starting dropping those, surely fewer would continue doing so. The anti-choicers interviewed in the piece didn't seem to know much about that byproduct — but of course, they wouldn't mind if it worked that way.
Abortion On Deck In Health Care Debate [Politico]
Related: The End Of Abortion Insurance [Mother Jones]
Earlier: Meet The Newly Powerful Dudes Who Want To Regulate Your Uterus
Where Are We Headed With Reproductive Rights?