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Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions

Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions
© Greg Nash

House Democrats on Tuesday vowed to repeal a ban on the use of federal funds for abortions.

While a repeal of the long-standing ban is unlikely with Republican control of the Senate, the move indicates the direction Democrats want to go should they gain control of the upper chamber in 2020. 

"We are going to end the Hyde Amendment," said Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteDemocrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act Regulator: Evidence suggests Texas 'absolutely' didn't follow recommendations to winterize power equipment Democrats urge FDA to clear market of all flavored e-cigarettes MORE, co-chairwoman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. 

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"We intend to fight aggressively to reverse the terrible decisions made by the Trump administration, and frankly previous administrations, going back 40 years." 

The Hyde Amendment was initially passed through Congress shortly after the Supreme Court's landmark decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973

The amendment, which has been added to every appropriations bill ever since, prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, including through Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, except in the cases of rape, incest, or if the woman's life is endangered. 

Anti-abortion groups attest that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for abortions.

But abortion rights groups have long argued that the ban puts low-income women seeking abortions at a disadvantage. 

Democrats also said Tuesday they would go after a proposal from the Trump administration aimed at cutting Title X family planning funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

Democrats will also introduce legislation that would roll back the administration's ban on aid to foreign NGOs that promote or provide abortions.

"We intend to reverse all of that. Not in the first month, but soon," DeGette said. 

Democrats, which included House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue Lowey Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs Committee chairs continue their lawmaking decline MORE (D-N.Y.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeProgressive lawmaker to introduce bill seeking more oversight of Israel assistance Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Biden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees MORE (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, were joined by new Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen.

Democrats made the announcements ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place Friday. 

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePelosi says she would have put up a fight against Capitol mob: 'I'm a street fighter' Trump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Biden's policies are playing into Trump's hands MORE will also speak at the march's fundraiser Friday.