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Bankruptcy Bill Passes House Without Abortion-Related Provision

Lacking an amendment that would keep anti-abortion extremists from declaring bankruptcy to escape court fines, the latest version of a controversial bankruptcy bill was approved by the US House yesterday in a vote of 315-113. The amendment, championed by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in past versions of the bill, would have required that anti-abortion extremists be held responsible for penalties levied against them.

In its seventh version considered by the House, the overall bill is viewed as a handout to credit card companies by requiring that more people who file for bankruptcy not be exempted completely from their outstanding debts. In addition, the bill provides for credit card debt to be paid ahead of child support and alimony. The Feminist Majority opposes the overall bill because it favors corporations over low-income families.

“We’ve fallen victim to the special interests,” lamented Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) during floor debate yesterday as reported by the Associated Press.

However, the Feminist Majority has joined other leading women’s rights organizations as well as many women members of Congress in advocating for Schumer’s amendment, which kept the bill from being approved by Congress in the last session. Declaring bankruptcy is a strategy that has been adopted by a number of anti-abortion extremists, including six of the defendants in the recently upheld Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA).

The Senate will next consider the bill. Republicans hope that the bill will clear the Senate, now under Republican control, without Schumer’s amendment.

Sources:

LA Times 3/20/03; Associated Press 3/19/03; New York Times 3/20/03; Feminist Daily News 11/15/03