In another recent attack against abortion access in the few days since Trump took office, the House of Representatives voted yesterday afternoon to pass H.R. 7, which is an anti-abortion bill that means there will be even more restriction to safe abortion access for low-income women, federal government employees, military women stationed overseas, and women in the Peace Corps–basically, it’s targeted at women who aren’t wealthy, or are employed by the government.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 238-183, is similar to the Hyde Amendment, which was a rule passed in 1976 that prohibits any taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions. H.R. 7 will do something similar as it will cut off taxpayer funding to insurance plans that choose to cover abortion, regardless of the fact that those funds have been prohibited for use on abortion care ever since the Hyde Amendment was passed four decades ago. Yes, you read that right: This federal bill essentially eliminates all insurance funding for abortion.
This is also why the bill’s title, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017,” is incredibly ironic, as it’s already illegal in the United States to use federal tax dollars to fund abortions. Even worse, it also prohibits abortion coverage from being offered in multi-state health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act, meaning that millions of American women will lose insurance coverage for abortion automatically.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated on Tuesday that it’s shameful:
“It’s particularly shameful that politicians in Congress are voting to restrict a woman’s ability to get basic health care services just three days after millions of women, men, and families mobilized and marched for their rights.”
It doesn’t take an economic genius to realize that the ruling puts an impossible financial strain and hardship on low-income women who rely on Medicaid for healthcare but cannot use Medicaid for abortion care–or any woman who uses ACA as their healthcare.
There are already 10 states that prohibit insurance coverage of abortion for all providers, and an additional 15 who prohibit it for ACA recipients, but now it’s national. Besides the fact that two anti-abortion rules were just passed in a matter of days, it also sets a scary precedence, as Destiny Lopez, Co-Director of All* Above All, a pro-choice advocacy group, noted:
“If anyone was wondering about the priorities of the new anti-woman Congress—they’ve shown their cards. In just two weeks, they’ve already taken steps to dismantle the ACA and take away birth control coverage, defund Planned Parenthood, and now they’ve re-introduced sweeping legislation to make the Hyde Amendment permanent.”
What actual benefit is there to limiting safe and affordable access to abortions? It doesn’t mean women will stop getting them–it will only result in more dangerous abortions–which doesn’t seem at all like a benefit to me. Plus, it controls women’s bodies and family planning in general, since moms also undergo abortions, not just single women–meaning that this limitation affects family finances–and results in unsafe abortions or making more kids dependent on public assistance.
If you don’t think women’s rights are being taken away, there’s a Texas lawmaker who is currently trying to criminalize abortion as we speak. Tony Tinderholt is the author of House Bill 948, or the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, who feels women should be “more personally responsible” with sex. He also doesn’t believe there should be any exceptions for abortion in cases of rape or incest, stating:
“I don’t think that there should be any exceptions to murder, no matter what. So, if this child was out of the womb and it was a child that was born out of rape or incest, no one would be OK with killing a child. I look at it like that child is a child in the womb, just like it’s out.”
I fail to see any logic or equality here. Good thing I didn’t live in Texas when I underwent an abortion after having been assaulted several years ago. How scary is it to realize we live in a world where basic rights to one’s own body are being not only limited, but potentially criminalized? I’ll be honest: I’m really scared right now. What’s it going to be like in a month or two years from now?