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 BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama 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 BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments Live coverage: Senate Republicans pass tax bill MORE (Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocrats turn on Al Franken Report: Franken will resign Thursday Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign MORE (N.Y.), Kay HaganKay HaganPolitics is purple in North Carolina Democrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 MORE (N.C.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (Minn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats turn on Al Franken Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Mo.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiClinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Wash.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress The Hill Interview: GOP chairman says ‘red flags’ surround Russian cyber firm Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ MORE (N.H.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments 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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