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 Andrew BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism 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 Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellLobbying World Interior won't lower offshore drilling royalty rates Watchdog: Zinke could have avoided charter flight after meeting with Las Vegas hockey team MORE (Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunday Shows Preview: Emmanuel Macron talks ahead of state dinner CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Senate panel punts Mueller protection bill to next week MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSchumer to introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana Navy, Marines chiefs say no morale issues with transgender troops Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls MORE (N.Y.), Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina MORE (N.C.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd MORE (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE (Mo.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Trump admin announces abstinence-focused overhaul of teen pregnancy program Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE (Wash.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE (N.H.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug Senators press administration on mental health parity Progressive groups launch M midterm initiative in three battleground states 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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