January 26, 2015 — Lawmakers on the House Budget and Appropriations committees last week urged Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan to submit a fiscal year 2016 budget proposal without riders that restrict abortion funding, Politico's "Pulse" reports.
In a letter spearheaded by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the lawmakers called for a budget plan that eliminates the Hyde Amendment and similar restrictions (Wheaton, "Pulse," Politico, 1/26). The amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion in cases other than rape, incest and life endangerment (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/26/14).
DeLauro and the 19 other lawmakers who signed the letter noted their "commit[ment] to advancing reproductive health, rights and justice" and acknowledged "the challenges [they] face going forward" in Congress.
However, "[n]ow is the time to be bold," they wrote, adding, "These budget riders have a far-reaching impact on women enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, federal employees and their dependents, Peace Corps Volunteers, Native American women, women in federal prisons, women in immigration detention centers and residents of the District of Columbia."
For example, they cited a Guttmacher Institute paper that found that about "one in four Medicaid-eligible women who would have had an abortion if funds were available must carry the pregnancy to term because she is unable to afford the cost of that care." This inability to access care "can have long term, devastating effects on a woman and her family's economic future," they wrote (DeLauro et al., letter, 1/22).