US House approves bill prohibiting use of federal money for abortions

US House approves bill prohibiting use of federal money for abortions

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation [HR 7 text] that prohibits the use of federal funds on abortions. The act, titled “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017,” would prohibit the authorization or appropriation of any funds through federal law to any fund that can be expended on abortions or to any health benefit coverage which includes coverage of abortion. This prohibits any premium credits or cost-sharing reductions under the Affordable Care Act from being applied to any health care plan that includes abortion. It also prohibits any employer from claiming any tax credit through the smaller employer health insurance expense credit if the employer provides a health plan that includes abortion. Any health care facility or health care physician owned, operated, or employed by the federal government is prohibited from providing health care services which include abortion. The bill allows exceptions for cases of pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, or in cases where a physician has certified that the woman is in danger of death unless the abortion is performed. It also allows the option to purchase separate abortion coverage as long as no federal credits are applied to the supplemental abortion coverage. The legislation must still be approved by the Senate.

There have been many attempts through legislation to reduce abortion throughout the US. In October the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a law that added new licensing and inspection rules for facilities that perform abortions. In July the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against an Arizona law that would potentially prevent low-income women from obtaining healthcare from their provider of choice. Earlier in July in a US district judge issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against a Florida law intended to cut state funding to clinics administering abortions. That same week a federal judge placed an injunction [JURIST report] on an Indiana law that would have banned women from seeking abortion procedures when they are based on race, sex, or the potential for or actual diagnosis of a disability in the fetus. In June the US Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt [SCOTUSblog materials] that a Texas law [HB2 text] imposing certain requirements on abortion clinics and doctors creates an undue burden on access to abortion, and is therefore unconstitutional [JURIST report].