Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hyde and Seek

Responding to an intense public outcry (and a great Jon Stewart bit), the House Republicans have backed down and stripped from the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act the "forcible rape" language that would have severely limited the rape exemption for federal assistance for abortions.  That's great, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the rest of the bill is a wholesale attack on women's reproductive rights.

As Talking Points Memo reports, "the bill still contains numerous provisions that appear to dramatically expand federal limits on abortion funding. The new version of the bill apparently retains the clause that limits the incest exemption to girls under the age of 18 and language that makes it tougher for women to obtain abortion coverage through their private insurers."  And the bill would make the Hyde Amendment permanent.

For 35 years the Hyde Amendment has continued to prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions -- except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is endangered.  The Hyde Amendment  must be -- and has been -- approved as a rider to the appropriations bill every year.  But it is far past time to reject what President Obama characterized during the health care reform debate as the status quo.  Now that the right has gotten our attention, we should be demanding a roll back of the Hyde Amendment altogether.

According to The Center for Reproductive Rights, because of the Hyde Amendment, "more than a million women have been denied funds to cover an abortion."  This, of course, has been particularly harmful to women of limited financial means, making it extremely difficult for them to "finance abortion services and severely limit[ing] their right to reproductive health care."

It is outrageous that the Hyde Amendment is renewed every year without a fight.  Let's have one.

[Related posts:  G.O.P. War on Women; Back to the Dark Ages]


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