Pro-Abortion Members of Congress Introduce Bill to Force Americans to Pay For Abortions

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 1, 2017   |   10:49AM   |   Washington, DC

Time and time again, Americans have rejected measure that would force taxpayers to fund abortions.

But pro-abortion legislators in U.S. Congress are trying to push through another attempt anyway.

The bill, introduced today by U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, D-California, and Jan Schakowski, D-Illinois, would end the Hyde Amendment and other policies that prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions. Their bill, the EACH Woman Act, has almost no chance of success with Republican majorities in both houses and the presidency.

“No woman should ever be denied her constitutional right to an abortion simply because she cannot afford to pay for one,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights in a news release.

Abortion advocates called the bans on taxpayer funding for abortions “discriminatory” and harmful to low-income women and minorities.

“For too long, a woman’s source of insurance or level of income has determined whether she has coverage for abortion care,” Lee wrote in an op-ed for TIME this week. “With the EACH Woman Act, we intend to stop that discrimination.”

Later, she added: “We know that restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. These women and other women denied an abortion are more likely to fall into poverty than those who received care.”

Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, and Louise Slaughter, D-New York, along with 100 other members of Congress also support the bill, according to the news release.

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Lee and Schakowski originally introduced the pro-abortion bill in 2015 when President Barack Obama was in office and more abortion-supporting Democrats were in Congress. The extreme measure did not pass then either.

The bill has even less chance of passing than it did in 2015, and the public made it clear in November that they do not support such radical, pro-abortion laws.

Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans, including women and those who identify as pro-choice on abortion, oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. A survey CNN conducted found Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61 percent to 35 percent.

A 2015 Marist poll also found that more than two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including a majority of women and people who identify as pro-choice.

In November, voters also rejected presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who advocated for taxpayer funding of abortions as part of her campaign. A Harvard University poll for Politico found just 36 percent of likely voters supported Clinton’s plan to direct federal tax dollars to cover abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.

Interestingly, the poll also found that voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor). In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are the ones who oppose it the most.

Historically, the Hyde Amendment has received bipartisan support. The amendment has been passed every year since 1976 and has largely prevented federal Medicaid dollars from paying for abortions. The Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment and limits on taxpayer funding of abortions in 1980.

Research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute indicates that the amendment has saved more than 2 million lives from abortion in the past 40 years.

On Jan. 24, U.S. House lawmakers passed a bill to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortions and ensure abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department.