WASHINGTON — Today, the House Appropriations Committee held markups and advanced two more bills without any harmful abortion coverage or access restrictions. The historic spending bills seek to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, Weldon Amendment, and the coverage ban for incarcerated people in the federal prison system. The bills were put forth by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee, led by Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3); and the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee, led by Chairman Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8).
Today’s bills are the last in a series of House appropriations bills that collectively would end all appropriations abortion coverage bans, including the D.C. Medicaid abortion ban, Helms Amendment, and Peace Corps abortion ban. This historic progress comes after decades of advocacy from people of color, organizations like All* Above All, and other Reproductive Justice advocates urging lawmakers to end these discriminatory and racist abortion restrictions.
The packages approved today also make critical investments in access to sexual and reproductive health care and increasing health equity. The LHHS bill provides $400 million for Title X — the nation’s only federal program dedicated to providing affordable birth control and other reproductive health care to people with low incomes. It also increases funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program while defunding ineffective and discriminatory abstinence-only programs for youth.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Your ZIP code, income, or the type of health insurance you have should never determine what kind of essential health care services you can access. It’s past time for Congress to remove these racist, discriminatory barriers to abortion care from our federal laws. We applaud Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, stalwart reproductive health care champion Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), and CJS Subcommittee Chairman Matt Cartwright, for their leadership and determination to end these harmful restrictions. We’re ready to work alongside them and all reproductive health care champions in Congress to make sure health care — including abortion coverage — is accessible to all."
This year, the Biden-Harris administration became the first administration in decades to exclude the Hyde Amendment from its presidential budget. The Hyde Amendment blocks people who use Medicaid and other federal programs from being able to access safe, legal abortion. This particularly harms people with low incomes, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and young people — who all disproportionately rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. This policy is deeply unpopular: 6 in 10 people agree that Medicaid should cover abortion services like it covers all other reproductive health services.
The abortion ban on incarcerated people in the federal prison system likewise disproportionately affects women of color. According to the Sentencing Project, in 2019, the incarceration rate for Black women was 1.7 times the rate of white women. Latinas were incarcerated 1.3 times the rate of white women.
The Weldon Amendment threatens state and local governments that seek to protect or expand abortion care or coverage with the loss of federal health dollars and emboldens health care entities to use personal or religious beliefs to deny access to abortion care.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America will continue to work with congressional health care champions to send appropriations bills without any abortion bans to President Biden.
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.