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 DeGetteBipartisan former EPA chiefs say Trump administration has abandoned agency's mission Congress: Expand access to physical therapy for underserved communities Overnight Energy: EPA to reconsider cost benefit analysis of air pollution rules | Interior gets new rules on free concert tickets | Dem challenges EPA for skipping hearing 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 LoweyHouse panel wraps up final 2020 spending bill as Senate lags House panel wraps up final 2020 spending bill as Senate lags On The Money: Democrats set stage for next shutdown fight | House panel wraps up final 2020 spending bill | GOP senators, White House delay meeting on spending | Trump hits Fed over high interest rates MORE (D-N.Y.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Democrats set stage for next shutdown fight with wall-free spending bill 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 PenceWhite House crowd sings 'Happy Birthday' to Trump Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 Trump has discussed backing Amash challenger: report MORE will also speak at the march's fundraiser Friday.