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Package would also end abortion ban for federal employees

WASHINGTON — Today, the House Appropriations Committee held a markup of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2022 spending bill, advancing the bill without the harmful long standing D.C. Medicaid abortion ban. The ban, also known as the Dornan Amendment, prohibits the District of Columbia from using locally-raised tax dollars to cover abortion care for people enrolled in D.C. Medicaid. While states can decide to use their own dollars to cover abortion services through their Medicaid programs, the District is not a state and is subject to unique, broad, and often damaging congressional oversight. For decades, members of Congress opposed to reproductive health care have taken advantage of this power to impose the ban. 

The bill also excludes the ban on abortion coverage for federal employees who receive their health insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). No employers, including the federal government, should be empowered to interfere in an employee’s personal health care decisions.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: 

“For too long, members of Congress opposed to reproductive health care have infringed on the rights and bodily autonomy of D.C. residents with low incomes and federal employees. Access to safe, legal abortion should never be determined by your income, ZIP code, or employer. We applaud Congressional health care champions for standing up for reproductive freedom by advancing an appropriations package that finally respects people living in our nation’s capital and working for our federal government. The Senate must now finish the job — not only by ending both of these abortion bans, but by granting D.C. statehood to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of D.C. residents cannot be jeopardized again.” 

Statement from Dr. Laura Meyers, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.: 

“As the oldest and largest provider of reproductive health services in the region, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. applauds the action by the House Appropriations Committee to end Congressional interference in critical health care services for D.C. residents. Abortion is health care. At our D.C. health center, our patients should not be denied coverage for abortion because they have Medicaid when the District has apportioned local funds to provide such coverage. We now urge the Senate to take the next step to remove the egregious, longstanding obstacles barring access to care in the nation’s capital.”

Statement from Dee Srivastava, president, D.C. Abortion Fund: 

“As the only local abortion fund for residents of the District, we have seen firsthand the impact of racist and discriminatory bans like the Dornan Amendment, and how they undermine the autonomy and the health of D.C. residents with low incomes. D.C. residents deserve to be able to determine their futures and exercise their political will without congressional interference. Many of the people who call us would be able to access their abortions with fewer barriers and delays had their care been covered. Though we are excited about this news and what it would mean for our communities, more must be done, including statehood for D.C. to ensure that a ban like Dornan can never be imposed on our callers and our city again.”

In 2019, more than one in five women of reproductive age in Washington, D.C. were enrolled in the Medicaid program. The D.C. Medicaid abortion ban disproportionately impacts people of color, who make up a disproportionate percentage of people covered under Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 93% of the D.C. residents whose access to abortion is restricted by the abortion coverage ban are Black and Hispanic. Nationwide, Medicaid is the largest payer of reproductive health care in the country. 

The appropriations package advanced today would also increase access to health care for federal employees by ending a similar abortion ban in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). 

During the markup, committee members who oppose sexual and reproductive health and rights offered amendments seeking to reinsert the D.C. Medicaid abortion ban and the FEHBP ban into the bill. Champions on the committee pushed back on these amendments, stating that people should not be denied access to abortion simply because of how they are insured, whether that be a federal employee covered by FEHBP or someone enrolled in Medicaid living in Washington, D.C. Both of these harmful amendments were defeated. The FSGG Appropriations bill now advances to the full House of Representatives. 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.