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 DeGetteOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid Dem chair asks FDA for documents on powerful new opioid Trump health official says agency would never have supported family separations 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 LoweyOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (D-N.Y.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThe 10 Dems most likely to win the 2020 presidential nomination Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president 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 PenceChina accuses US of trying to block development after Pence Huawei comments Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE will also speak at the march's fundraiser Friday.