The Democratic women of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are urging their Senate colleagues to fight harder for reproductive healthcare rights in the District of Columbia. 

In a May 3 letter to the Democratic women of the Senate, the CBC members said they were “deeply disappointed” when Democrats agreed last month to a 2011 continuing resolution (CR) that included language barring D.C. from using local taxpayer dollars to fund abortion services for low-income women.

The CBC members said those women were “sacrificed” for the sake of a spending deal, which was negotiated by Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbying World Jordan won't run for Oversight gavel Oklahoma rep. launches long-shot bid for Oversight chair MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGOP frustrated by slow pace of Trump staffing This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? MORE (D-Nev.) and the White House.

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“The poor women in the District have already begun to feel the terrible effects of the rider,” the letter said. “Abortions are time-sensitive, and scores of women scheduled for District-funded abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic immediately had their appointments canceled. This paradox cannot be overlooked.”

In the heat of last month’s spending fight, the Democratic women of the Senate united with a threat to kill any proposal that would limit women’s healthcare services. They were especially critical of several House-passed provisions – popular among conservatives – to eliminate all federal funding for Title X programs, in general, and Planned Parenthood, in particular. 

Yet those same senators did not draw a line at the D.C. abortion rider. Indeed, every one of the Democratic women – including Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellOvernight Energy: Democrats take on key Trump Interior nominee Democrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work Cohn, Mnuchin visit Capitol Hill to discuss tax reform MORE (Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinThe case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee Feinstein: Comey memos 'going to be turned over' MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBill would require sexual assault, social media training for military recruits Dem senator: 'One of our closest allies' expressed concern about intelligence sharing Intel chief quiet on whether Trump asked him to deny Russia evidence MORE (N.Y.), Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (N.C.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharCruz: Jokes about me in Franken's book 'obnoxious' The Hill's 12:30 Report Dem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information MORE (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Mnuchin: WH won't double-count economic growth Technology's role in human trafficking cannot be ignored MORE (Mo.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day After 30 years celebrating women’s history, have we made enough progress? MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Finance: Dems introduce minimum wage bill | Sanders clashes with Trump budget chief | Border tax proposal at death's door Sanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Overnight Healthcare: CBO fallout | GOP senators distance themselves from House bill | Trump budget chief blasts score | Schumer says House bill belongs 'in the trash' MORE (Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenSenators pan WH proposal to cut airport security programs, hike ticket fees Dem senator: 'One of our closest allies' expressed concern about intelligence sharing Sessions postpones Senate testimony on DOJ funding MORE (N.H.) and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowTrump, Clinton campaign aides launch their own bids Democrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work McConnell promises women can take part in healthcare meetings MORE (Mich.) – voted in favor of the 2011 spending bill with the rider attached.

That discrepancy was not lost on the CBC women. Noting that the District of Columbia has “no vote in Congress and no representation in the Senate,” they're urging their upper-chamber counterparts to fight as hard for the women of D.C. as they have for their own constituents.

The D.C. abortion rider expires at the end of fiscal year 2011, but the House this week is slated to vote on another abortion bill that would make the provision permanent. Republicans are also eying the 2012 budget as a vehicle for solidifying the D.C. abortion-funding restrictions.

“As the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process begins, we believe it would be invaluable if you stated, early and publicly, your opposition to the inclusion of the D.C. abortion rider in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill,” the CBC members wrote. “This is perhaps the only way to keep it out of the bill after Democrats agreed to it in the CR.”

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