The U.S. House of Representatives today (Jan. 28) passed a right-wing anti-choice bill — the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act — to deny tax credits to small businesses and middle class families if their health plans include abortion coverage.
The measure also would impose a tax increase on women who need abortion care and make permanent abortion bans that prevent millions of women — such as those enrolled in Medicaid, federal employees and residents of the District of Columbia — from having health insurance coverage that includes abortion care.
The American Civil Liberties Union swiftly responded to the vote from the GOP-controlled House. "In an effort to impose one narrow ideology on the lives of American women, these lawmakers hope to rewrite tax law to penalize a single, legal medical procedure: abortion," said Dena Sher, ACLU legislative counsel. "Congress needs to lift restrictions on abortion coverage, not enact extreme and dangerous bans that interfere with a person’s private medical decisions."
NARAL also responded. "Conservative politicians continue to focus almost single-mindedly on finding new ways to dictate the private, medical decisions of women and their families," said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “By introducing a bill that breaks new ground in intertwining our tax code with reproductive decisions and meddling in the private insurance marketplace, extreme members of the GOP have put their cards on the table – they are willing to violate their own principles in order to make attacking women’s reproductive rights their first and foremost priority. The War On Women cost conservatives in 2012 and it will cost them again in the midterm elections and beyond."
The House vote was 227-188 and seen as another attack on the 4-year-old Affordable Care Act, as well as codification of the Hyde Amendment that prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Heidi Williamson, a senior policy analyst with the Women’s Health and Rights program at the Center for American Progress, had this statement: "Congress denies federal insurance coverage of abortion each year, but this bill goes even further by making the Hyde Amendment permanent law and restricting private insurance coverage for abortion, even for women who purchase private insurance with their own money. Rather than banning legal medical procedures, lawmakers should take up a real women’s agenda that promotes access to higher education, family planning, and equal pay."
The White House has said the measure would be vetoed if it reached the president.
Editor's note: This story is developing.