Women of the Black Caucus urge Senate Dems not to abandon DC

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 BoehnerTrump may pose problem for Ryan in Speaker vote Conservatives backing Trump keep focus on Supreme Court Vote House Republicans out MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidPelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Latinos build a wall between Trump and White House in new ad The true (and incredible) story of Hill staffers on the industry payroll MORE (D-Nev.) and the White House.

“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 BoxerHouse and Senate water bills face billion difference Boxer, Feinstein endorse Kamala Harris in two-Dem Senate race Dems gain upper hand on budget MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellUS wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinAirbnb foes mobilize in Washington Top Dem: Russia trying to elect Trump Sanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMusic streamer Spotify joins Gillibrand’s push for paid family leave Gillibrand proposes sexual assault reforms for Merchant Marine Academy Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE (N.Y.), Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (N.C.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs EpiPen maker to pay 5M to settle overcharging case MORE (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillMcCaskill offers Trump 'Mean Girls' advice Trump's taxes bump Miss Universe from headlines Dem on NYT report: Trump 'walks away with a golden ticket' MORE (Mo.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBetter child care for stronger families GOP Senate candidate: It's 'not practical' to repeal ObamaCare Senate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military A fight for new rights MORE (Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Obama signs 'bill of rights' for rape survivors into law Four military options for Obama in Syria MORE (N.H.) and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions 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.”

The letter was signed by CBC members Barbara Lee (Calif.), Karen BassKaren BassThe Hill's 12:30 Report Lawmakers, stars collide at 'Queen of Katwe' premiere Ex-GOP senator: Trump's a sociopath MORE (Calif.), Donna Christensen (V.I.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Corrine BrownCorrine BrownInsiders dominate year of the outsider The Hill’s 12:30 Report Corrine Brown loses primary amid indictment MORE (Fla.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeFULL SPEECH: Obama slams Trump's 'politics of fear' at rally Dems nominate Kaine for VP Sanders gives blessing as Dems nominate Clinton MORE (Ohio) Gwen MooreGwen MooreLawmakers mourn Gene Wilder’s death Wisconsin Dem calls for calm in wake of Milwaukee police shooting Dems to Obama: End citizenship rule for education programs MORE (Wis.), Laura Richardson (Calif.), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Terri SewellTerri SewellLawmakers launch Congressional Football Caucus In Italy, Pelosi plays up NATO ties Southern lawmakers fight to keep USDA catfish inspections MORE (Ala.) and Frederica WilsonFrederica WilsonHouse panel approves juvenile justice reform bill Democrats applaud move to put Tubman on bill Pelosi: ‘We must and we will bring back’ Nigerian schoolgirls MORE (Fla.).