US Senate passed Senator David Vitter’s (R-Louisiana) anti-choice amendment that would prevent funding for abortion for the Indian Health Services (IHS) yesterday. Reproductive Health Reality Check reports that this amendment to the Indian Health Services Act would not change the current policy regarding funding to the IHS because the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding of abortion. However, Sen. Vitter’s amendment would be a roadblock if the Hyde Amendment were to be changed.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a press release, “Sen. Vitter’s amendment is simply a political tactic that will do nothing to improve health care for Native Americans, nor reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. If Sen. Vitter is serious about preventing unintended pregnancies, he would support preventative legislation that invests in family planning programs. Unfortunately, Senator Vitter’s amendment puts politics over the health and welfare of native Americans.”
According to Planned Parenthood, Native American women are three-and-a-half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted, and the teen birth rate on reservations is soaring. The IHS is the only federal agency responsible for Native American health care, and it does not provide the necessary sexual health care for Native American Women.