Abortion rights roundup: September 15, 2023
House Republicans have buried anti-abortion provisions in must-pass federal spending bills.
With only nine days left in the legislative session, House Republicans are in chaos, holding up a set of must-pass federal spending bills for the 2024 fiscal year and pushing for more restrictive and deeply unpopular abortion bans.
The House and Senate worked to complete the annual government funding process this week, but 11 of 12 appropriations bills are still on the table. Among the issues holding up the process: Republicans in the House appear to be hellbent on embedding restrictions on abortion care in the bills.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration bill proposed by House Republicans, for example, would contain language that nullifies the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance on dispensing the abortion medication mifepristone. It would additionally prohibit providers from sending the medication through the mail.
In the funding bill for the Department of Defense, the Republicans have included a provision that would erase an interim final ruling by the Biden administration that expanded access to abortion care for those in the Armed Services.
The bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education would remove funding for medical research that uses human fetal tissue “if such tissue is obtained pursuant to an induced abortion.” It would also prohibit federal funding for any organization that provides abortion care.
Abortion is mentioned 13 times in the 296-page spending bill for the Department of State, with most mentions mandating that “none of the funds appropriated under this heading shall be used to pay for abortions.”
“Republicans are resorting to political games and tricks to ban and restrict abortion nationwide because they know they don’t have the support of the majority of Americans,” said Emily Allison, a spokesperson for EMILY’s List, a political action committee that works to elect Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights.
“They don’t have the votes to muscle through an outright ban on the federal level. And as we have seen in state after state that has put abortion access to the vote, reproductive freedom wins at the ballot box, too,” Allison said. “So now, anti-choice extremists are doing the only thing they can do, attempting to add these dangerous abortion bans to critical spending bills that must pass — and they’re willing to allow the government to shut down in service of their radical agenda.”
On Sept. 11, President Joe Biden vowed to veto H.R. 4365, the appropriations bill for the Department of Defense.
A statement of administration policy issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget outlined its opposition: “The draft bills also include numerous new, partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences, including harming access to reproductive healthcare, threatening the health and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives, and preventing the Administration from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
On Sept. 12, House Republicans canceled a vote on the $826 billion defense appropriations bill, fearing that they didn’t have the votes to push it through.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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