Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on H.R. 7, the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” This bill, introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), is yet another example of anti-choice legislators’ obsession with abortion.
“This is the first House Judiciary Hearing of 2014 and it’s being used to attack access to abortion care for the nation’s most vulnerable women,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation. “The House committee and its leadership are once again focused on advancing their own ideological agenda, which most Americans do not support.”
The Smith bill would permanently deny coverage for abortion care to any woman who relies on the federal government for health care, including low-income women, federal employees, women in the military, and women in the Peace Corps. It would also prohibit the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised revenue to help low-income women obtain the abortion care they need.
Funding restrictions are the biggest barrier to women’s access to abortion care. Through our toll-free Hotline and member clinics throughout the United States, we hear from thousands of women every month who cannot afford to access the abortion care they need. We hear from women who are on Medicaid, but live in states where it will not cover abortion; women with medical conditions who need to terminate their pregnancies to preserve their health; and women who must delay their care while they struggle to raise the necessary funds. Although abortion remains legal, for these women it is simply not accessible.
“Instead of passing more bans on insurance coverage for abortion care, we should be lifting restrictions so that women can access the care they need,” said Saporta.
Rep. Smith introduced a more extreme version of this bill in 2011, which passed the House by a vote of 251-175.