Abortion funding bill heads to House floor
By Allison Bell
Republicans plan to bring H.R. 7 — the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act bill — to the House floor Wednesday.
H.R. 7 and its companion, S. 946, would impose a permanent ban on use of any program funded through the annual Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act to pay for elective abortions.
The bill also would impose a permanent ban on funding for elective abortion coverage for federal employees, and it would prohibit the use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia.
The bill would prohibit any "qualified health plan" — a private health plan sold through a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange — from covering elective abortions.
Exchanges could sell separate abortion coverage, but consumers would have to pay for the coverage separately and could not use any PPACA tax credits to pay for the coverage.
The bill includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest and pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother.
The lead sponsors of the House bill are Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.
The lead sponsor in the Senate is Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
The sponsors note that the Hyde amendment, the Helms amendment and other measures already ban some of the activities that would be banned by H.R. 7, but they say passing H.R. 7 would eliminate the need to pass many separate annual abortion funding riders.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the bill fails to address the needs of a woman who may not be in danger of imminent death but may need an abortion to protect her own health.
"This denial of abortion coverage will undoubtedly put some women's health at serious risk," Jackson Lee said in a statement opposing the bill.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com