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 BoehnerConservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension 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 BoxerDem suggests race factored into Obama Senate endorsement Obama, Biden back Kamala Harris in Calif. Senate race Tim Scott says he was targeted by Capitol Police MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellRemembering small business during the presidential election GOP energy negotiator accuses Senate chairman of 'bizarre' promise House chairman: Energy bill unlikely before election MORE (Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinHotel lobby cheers scrutiny on Airbnb GOP platform attempts middle ground on encryption debate Week ahead: Encryption fight poised to heat up MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDNC event calendar Texas rep uses Snapchat to prompt border control discussions GOP probes EPA response to NY state water contamination MORE (N.Y.), Kay HaganKay HaganDNC event calendar 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' MORE (N.C.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Senators launch broadband caucus Spotify vs. Apple comes to Washington MORE (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWatchdog faults Energy Department over whistleblower retaliation Wagner passes on NRCC bid, backs Stivers Senate Dem: Trump will pick 'handsome' Pence MORE (Mo.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiEmphasis on diversity in Democratic convention lineup Senate confirms first black female librarian of Congress Clinton pens tribute to feminist website The Toast MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOur children, our future – bridging the partisan divide Overnight Energy: Officials close in on new global emissions deal NBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law MORE (Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDemocrats ‘freaked out’ about polls in meeting with Clinton GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Defense: US blames ISIS for Turkey attack | Afghan visas in spending bill | Army rolls up its sleeves MORE (N.H.) and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowDems to GOP: Admit Trump is 'unfit' to be president Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency GMO labeling bill good for both environment and the poor 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 BassMeet the Democrat at center of party platform tug of war Amateur theatrics: An insult to Africa 'Veep' star lobbies to end human trafficking MORE (Calif.), Donna Christensen (V.I.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Corrine BrownCorrine BrownIndicted Dem: Orlando victims would be alive if agents weren’t investigating me Congresswoman indicted, accused of using charity as 'slush fund' Florida Dem lawmaker indicted on federal charges: report MORE (Fla.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgePriebus: Wasserman Schultz resignation was ‘inevitable’ Dem committee chairwoman will resign after convention Top DNC official calls for shake-up in wake of email scandal MORE (Ohio) Gwen MooreGwen MooreDems to Obama: End citizenship rule for education programs Overnight Finance: Republicans move to block overtime rule | House, Senate split on IRS cuts | Yellen heading back before Congress Bill would require drug test to claim high-dollar tax deduction MORE (Wis.), Laura Richardson (Calif.), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Terri SewellTerri SewellSouthern lawmakers fight to keep USDA catfish inspections 'Will on the Hill' pokes fun at 2016 election Ryan backs voting rights bill — but tells black caucus it's out of his hands MORE (Ala.) and Frederica WilsonFrederica WilsonDemocrats applaud move to put Tubman on bill Pelosi: ‘We must and we will bring back’ Nigerian schoolgirls Overnight Regulation: Labor chief grilled on overtime, retirement rules MORE (Fla.).

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