The U.S. House of Representatives is getting ready to vote on the misleadingly titled No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3) today. As early as noon, your representatives will be deciding whether or not to take away insurance coverage for abortion from millions of women. You can watch the debate in real time on www.cspan.org, or follow our twitter feed for live updates.
Yesterday, we discussed the mean-spiritedness that pervades this bill. As the House edges closer to passing this attack on women, we thought we'd remind you about the basics:
- H.R. 3 singles out and excludes abortion from a host of programs that fulfill the government's obligation to provide health care to certain populations. It would permanently deny millions of women, including Native Americans, federal employees, Peace Corps volunteers, poor women and women in federal prisons, access to abortion care except in very limited circumstances. These discriminatory policies should be repealed – not made into permanent law.
- H.R. 3 manipulates the United States Tax Code to penalize a single, legal, medical procedure: abortion. In particular, it penalizes small businesses and middle-class families. It would deny small businesses tax credits designed to make health insurance affordable to all Americans if the insurance they provide includes abortion coverage. And it imposes a tax increase on women who need abortion care by excluding it from health savings accounts, medical savings accounts, and flexible spending arrangements.
- H.R. 3 would eliminate abortion coverage in the health insurance exchanges created by health care reform by denying the subsidies at the heart of health care reform to women and families who want to purchase plans that offer coverage for the full range of reproductive services women need. Congress rightly rejected this kind of ban when it passed health care reform; H.R. 3 tries to resurrect it.
- H.R. 3 would make permanent a provision that violates Washington, D.C.'s, autonomy and forbids the local government from choosing for itself whether to use its own locally raised non-federal dollars to provide coverage for abortion for its low-income residents. If you're curious how the District feels about that, ask Mayor Vincent Gray, who was arrested in protest last month after D.C.'s right to care for its own citizens got traded away to cement the budget deal.
H.R. 3 is nothing less than a direct attack on a woman's ability to make personal, private medical decisions. Tell your representative that Congress needs to stop playing politics with women's health and reject H.R. 3.
(Originally posted on the Blog of Rights.)