June 25, 2014 — The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved an amendment to the 2015 State-Foreign Operations spending bill that would permit abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers in cases of rape, incest or threats to a woman's life, the National Journal reports.
This marks the first time that the House committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee have both approved measures that would lift the current ban on abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers.
The limited coverage proposed in the bills would bring abortion coverage for the volunteers in line with that offered to federal employees and Medicaid beneficiaries (Novack, National Journal, 6/24).
The House panel approved the amendment by voice vote. According to the AP/Miami Herald, the provision is not likely to face a challenge when the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate committees combine their budget plans (Klapper, AP/Miami Herald, 6/24).
National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra Ness called the House committee's action "a significant moment," adding that members of the panel "put fairness ahead of anti-choice ideology" (Cunningham, "Pulse," Politico, 6/25).
Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement that "no longer will [women in the Peace Corps] have to face the indignity of being forced to pay for essential medical care with their own limited resources" (Viebeck, The Hill, 6/24).