Obamacare Abortion Coverage Faces Threats From House Republicans
“Here we go again. It’s another battle in the war on women,” said Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California after the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to impose tighter restrictions on federal payments for abortions. Although the bill stands no chance of being passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House has already threatened to veto the legislation, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act has thrust the issue of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy to the forefront of national debate in 2014, a congressional election year.
With the added focus on women’s reproductive health, the legislation also places the spotlight back on the Republican Party’s criticisms of the Affordable Care Act. Together, abortion and health care reform are among the most polarizing issues for the nation’s already partisan political sphere.
The bill — House Resolution 7, which was introduced by Chris Smith of New Jersey and co-sponsored by more than 170 representatives — passed the House by a vote of 227 to 188, with ballots cast mainly along party lines. Six Democratic representatives voted yes while one Republican voted no.
Abortion and the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, are issues that consistently unite the GOP and spark fierce debates between the party and Democratic lawmakers. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act is closely related to both issues. The legislation intends to reinforce existing federal laws like the Hyde Amendment that prohibit government funding of abortion services and make it illegal for individuals to use federal subsidies to purchase insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges that cover abortion services.