July 13, 2015 — The House last week voted 344-77 to advance a medical research bill (HR 6) that includes an abortion restriction, despite opposition from lawmakers who support abortion rights, CQ Roll Call's "218" reports (Khurshid, "218," CQ Roll Call, 7/10).
The underlying bill, called the 21st Century Cures Act, is a broad measure that aims to accelerate the development and regulatory approval of medical innovations (Sullivan/Ferris, The Hill, 7/10).
According to The Hill, lawmakers who oppose abortion rights added in language that would expand the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion care. Specifically, Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who opposed the addition, said lawmakers included the provision after the underlying bill passed committee by adding the "annual riders from the Labor-HHS bill" (Ferris, The Hill, 7/9). The Hyde Amendment has been included in appropriations measures since 1976 (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/9).
The Senate is working on its own version of the measure and bill supporters in the House have expressed hope for a vote in the fall (The Hill, 7/10).
Abortion-Rights Supporters Voice Opposition to Hyde Language
According to "218," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment to strike the antiabortion-rights language ("218," CQ Roll Call, 7/10). The amendment garnered support from 176 lawmakers but failed to pass (The Hill, 7/10). Of those supporters, seven voted against the underlying bill.
Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), one of the lawmakers who voted against the underlying bill, said, "I am voting today to … say 'no more' to the [conservative] contempt for women's, doctor's and scientist's right to make their own personal, professional or intellectual choices" ("218," CQ Roll Call, 7/10).
Meanwhile, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) voiced concerns about how the Hyde language was included, noting that it was added to the bill "in the dead of night." She said, "I cannot stand by while these provisions are slipped into an otherwise excellent bill through underhanded maneuvers that run contrary to our democratic process."
Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who also opposed the abortion rider, said, "The majority is yet again using this bill as a vehicle for [the] anti-choice Hyde Amendment" (The Hill, 7/9).