House Approves Spending Bill Barring D.C. Medicaid Abortion Coverage

July 18, 2014 — The House on Wednesday approved a spending bill that would bar Washington, D.C., from using its own funds to cover abortions in its Medicaid program, National Journal reports.

According to National Journal, the dispute over whether Congress should have power over D.C.'s spending decisions on abortion coverage is a "long-running" fight.

States are not permitted to use federal funds to cover abortion in their Medicaid programs, but they are permitted to opt to use their own funds to cover the service (Baker, National Journal, 7/16). Unlike states, the district's budget is appropriated through Congress' annual Financial Services bill, even though the area was granted limited home rule in the 1970s (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/18/13).

In June, the House Appropriations Committee voted 28-21 to approve the spending measure and send it to the full House. The committee rejected a Democratic amendment that would have changed the restrictions to apply only to federal funds appropriated to the district (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/26).