Just as in the year 2000, the abortion debate on the bankruptcy bill centers on language introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) that would specifically bar perpetrators of abortion clinic-related violence from avoiding paying legal judgments by declaring bankruptcy. Earlier this week, Schumer reached a compromise with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that does not mention abortion, reproductive health outright, though it does refer to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by its legislative citation; however, the Senate version of the bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee 10-8, does stipulate that any court judgment resulting from violence, harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence would be nondischargeable.
However, the House version of the bill, approved yesterday in a vote of 306-108, does not include language preventing convicted anti-abortion terrorists from declaring bankruptcy to avoid payment of legal judgments. Like last year, this appears headed to the Senate/House Conference Committee to settle the matter.
The Bankruptcy Bill, which has been promoted by the credit card companies, is itself opposed by major women’s groups including the Feminist Majority. The bill provides for credit card debt to be paid ahead of child support and alimony.