Politics Democrats poised to repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad

01:13  29 july  2021
01:13  29 july  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Abortion -rights supporters almost certainly won’t have the 60 votes currently needed to overcome a filibuster. DeGette, who asked House Democrats this summer where they stand on the issue, said her side has more than 200 votes but remains short of the 218 required to pass legislation. With a growing abortion -rights majority in the House and the support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — he reversed his decades-long support of the ban last year amid intense pressure from abortion rights groups — Democrats feel that the time is right to try.

House Democrats launched a bill Wednesday that would repeal a long-standing amendment that blocks U.S. foreign aid programs from contributing to abortion overseas. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the measure, dubbed the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act of 2020, which seeks to repeal As family and human rights organization C-Fam noted , the Helms Amendment came about by amending the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to ban U.S. funds for the promotion or provision of abortions outside of the country. Pressley, chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce of the

House Democrats on Wednesday are poised to pass for the first time in more than half a century a State Department and foreign assistance spending bill that does not include the Helms amendment, a provision that blocks U.S. funding for women's health services related to abortions.

Jan Schakowsky et al. that are looking at the camera: Democrats poised to repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad © Greg Nash Democrats poised to repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad

The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Bill, an annual appropriations package that lays out U.S. foreign funding priorities, excludes text from the Helms Amendment for the first time since it was introduced in 1973.

The bill is set for a vote on Wednesday evening.

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House Democrats are working to repeal restrictions imposed by the Trump administration that block U.S. foreign aid from helping fund programs that provide women access to an abortion as part of a billion spending bill. He reinstated the Mexico City Policy in 2017 and expanded its prohibitions to ban funding for any organization that supports or participates in the “management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” The Planned Parenthood Action Fund , the political advocacy arm of the family planning clinic, argues the ban overextends its reach to block funding for

Americans seeking abortion .” The delicate straddle Democrats are performing reflects a long-standing dilemma: The federal funding restriction is anathema to much of the party base, but lawmakers also have to deal with other threats from abortion rights opponents in Congress, as well as other “Most Democrats want to repeal Hyde,” said Matt Dennis, a former House Appropriations Committee spokesman. “They also want to enact laws that increase funding for medical research, family planning, schools, Pell Grants and job training.” Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House

It's expected to be a victory for Democrats who repealed the amendment thanks to majorities, albeit slim, in the House and Senate, and with control of the White House.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky), the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee on foreign relations, railed against the provision as the most egregious section of the $62.24 billion spending bill.

"Of greatest concern is the removal of the most important condition in any State, Foreign Operations bill that no funds can be used to pay for abortion. The removal of that language is unprecedented," Rogers said on the House floor on Wednesday.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who supports expanding U.S. funding for women's health care abroad to include abortion services, acknowledged that the progress could be reversed if Republicans make gains in 2022, along with other key Democratic priorities related to voting rights.

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Democratic presidential candidates are seizing on the intensifying abortion debate by calling for an end to a 43-year ban on the use of federal funds for abortions . Twenty-one of the 24 Democrats running for president say they support repealing the so-called Hyde amendment, which has prevented government health programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions , in Cory Booker Cory Booker Biden needs to help end federal cannabis prohibition Schumer: Marijuana legalization will be a Senate priority Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Senate Democrats want a new weed deal MORE (D-N.J.), Sen.

Biden also campaigned on repealing longstanding federal prohibitions against taxpayer funding for abortion , but a change of that magnitude to a group of laws known as the Hyde Amendment would require congressional approval. The regulatory changes Biden is asking federal health officials to undertake Failure to repeal and replace Obamacare as he repeatedly vowed to do was one of the former president's most bitter disappointments. His administration continued trying to find ways to limit the program or unravel it entirely. A Supreme Court decision on Trump's final legal challenge to the

"There are a lot of things to worry about if the Republicans take the House in 2022," Schakowsky said in an interview with The Hill.

Schakowsky is the author of the bill "Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act" that aims to permanently repeal and replace the Helms amendment, that was reintroduced in March.

She said the passage of the State funding bill without the Helms amendment is a moment of empowerment for women.

"But this is a moment, I think, for women - and that is a sense of empowerment at home and abroad, that women are standing up and demanding in many arenas, to have more rights, but particularly to make these very personal decisions about themselves," she said.

"They don't want to see politicians anywhere making decisions like that for them. This, I think, is being viewed as a moment of opportunity for women, here in the United States, to make a difference for themselves here and around the world."

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abroad . Dr. Fauci was selected Wednesday as the Biden administration’s official envoy to the World Health Organization, which President Biden rejoined as one of his first acts, despite the organization’s much-criticized record on handling the global coronavirus pandemic. In addition to repealing the Mexico City policy, the Biden White House says it intends to explore repealing the Hyde Amendment, a similar prohibition on taxpayer funds going to pay for abortions , but domestically. Biden himself also expressed support for reinstituting an Affordable Care Act mandate requiring even religious employers

The New York Times asked the Democratic presidential candidates to complete a survey on abortion and contraception. Following are the full responses we received, unedited except for corrected typos and punctuation. If this happens and Democrats don’t have full control of Congress, what will you do? My administration will work to codify Roe v. Wade. We will also ensure that providers who administer abortion services do not have to comply with burdensome restrictions that limit their ability to do so.

The text of the Helm's Amendment prohibited U.S. funding abroad for services that performed abortions or were used to motivate or coerce individuals to practice abortions.

Democrats' bill includes a provision that prohibits U.S. funding for coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Opponents of the Helms amendment say that the provision harms U.S. efforts to fund women's health programs in countries where abortion is legal in some form and that the prohibition contributes to millions of unsafe abortions and thousands of maternal deaths each year.

They cite data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on reproductive rights.

The institute estimates that repealing the Helms amendment will improve the health of women in at least 33 countries where abortions are legal in some form. This includes decreasing the number of unsafe abortions by 19 million; decreasing maternal deaths by 17,000 and reducing the number of women suffering complications from unsafe abortions by 12 million.

The Institute further says that a repeal of the Helms amendment is likely to contribute to health systems saving an estimated $641 million annually.

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Democrats and pro-abortion rights advocacy groups view the absence of the Helms amendment from the State spending bill as the first step in a larger battle to ensure U.S. assistance for women's health services that include abortion.

"This moment is truly historic," said Bethany Van Kampen, Senior Policy Advisor with Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization that focuses on access to contraception and abortion.

"It's been almost 50 years and this is the first vote on Helms repeal ever, since it began in 1973. To say that we are excited is an understatement. It really is history being made and it's completely necessary."

Also included in the State spending bill related to global women's health is $760 million for family planning and reproductive health services, an increase of $185 million from the previous year. It also provides $70 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an increase of $37.5 million from the previous year.

Republicans opposed the increased funding for the UNFPA, alleging the organization is complicit in coercive abortions and involuntary sterilizations, a charge the UNFPA and Democrats reject.

"To make it very clear, UNFP has never, ever supported forced abortions anywhere - where I've heard that, it's a lie," Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said on the House floor.

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usr: 3
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