Anti-abortion bill passes House

The House on Wednesday approved significant new restrictions on abortion, including a ban on the use of tax-preferred health savings accounts to pay for abortion.

H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," passed the House 251-175. The bill's lead sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said earlier in the day that he's unsure about the strategy for getting a vote in the Senate. Some Republicans have suggested using the upcoming vote on the debt ceiling to demand a vote on the anti-abortion bill.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is planning to introduce companion legislation. His office did not respond to a question about leveraging the debt-ceiling vote.

In addition to banning the use of health savings accounts to pay for abortion, H.R. 3 would make permanent the Hyde amendment — the ban on federal funding for abortion that Congress renews each year. And it would prohibit any of the new programs created under healthcare reform from providing access to private insurance plans that cover abortion.