National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Additional Debate on Abortion Provision in Homeland Security Bill Seems Unlikely

Additional Debate on Abortion Provision in Homeland Security Bill Seems Unlikely

June 5, 2012 — House Democrats this week are not expected to force a vote to remove an abortion-related amendment from the fiscal year 2013 Department of Homeland Security spending bill (HR 5855), CQ Today reports.

The amendment, which was approved by the House Appropriations Committee, would bar U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from paying for abortion care for women in custody, except in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is in danger (Starks, CQ Today, 6/5). It does not bar ICE officials from taking a woman outside of a detention facility to obtain abortion care (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/17).

House Security Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who proposed the amendment, said it would formalize ICE's existing policy and mirrors language that has been included in other spending bills since the 1970s.

During the committee markup, Democrats argued that the move to include the amendment was politically motivated. According to CQ Today, concern over the amendment lessened somewhat after Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) convinced appropriators to add the incest exception.

Although Democratic aides and abortion-rights groups said they are unaware of plans to force a vote on the issue, they remain opposed to the amendment. Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, said the amendment "adds insult to injury of the needs of women in detention who encounter sexual assault and rape" (CQ Today, 6/5).