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: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Vaping company executives set to testify in House investigation Lawmaker calls for hearing into MLB cheating scandal 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 LoweyMixed feelings on war power limits: Lawmakers and vet candidates US officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  House revives agenda after impeachment storm MORE (D-N.Y.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm Steyer calls for cuts to defense spending 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 PenceUS officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  Pence attends sermon where bishop says 'demonic spirit' is behind homosexual attraction Mike Pence invoked a racist president and a scoundrel senator to defend Trump — did he even know it? MORE will also speak at the march's fundraiser Friday.