History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week
Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) started a petition Saturday to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions, arguing the restriction overwhelmingly harms low-income Americans and women of color.
"It's not the 70s anymore. This is 2019, and none of our leaders should be willing to stand by a policy that disproportionately harms low income Americans and people of color just to suit the interests of anti-choice zealots," Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an email to supporters.
"That ends now. We're going to fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and let people access the care that they need. Sign your name if you stand for repealing the Hyde Amendment," she continued.
The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits government health programs such as Medicaid from paying for abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother, was first thrust into the spotlight earlier this month after Joe Biden's presidential campaign confirmed the former vice president still supported it.
Biden, the current front-runner in the crowded Democratic presidential primary field, later reversed course on his long-standing support for the measure and came out against the amendment after an avalanche of pushback from fellow 2020 candidates and abortion rights groups.
"If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," he said at a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta, citing abortion restrictions recently passed by Republican governors when explaining his reversal.
The Hyde Amendment was first passed in response to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, which established a woman's right to an abortion. The measure has been reauthorized in annual government spending bills ever since.