On the Hill Reproductive Rights

COVID-19 Spending Measures Stalled by Anti-Choice Lawmakers

On March 13, a Facebook post went viral, which claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stalled a coronavirus relief package in an attempt to authorize federal abortion funding. On the contrary, most evidence suggests that conservative lawmakers were focused on inserting the issue of abortion in the bill.

A number of conservative lawmakers demanded that the coronavirus relief package must include “Hyde language” in the text. The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 to prohibit federal funding of abortion, which, most significantly, prevents low income women from using Medicaid coverage to pay for abortions.

Lawmakers have included Hyde language in many government health programs in the past, such as the Indian Health Service, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. Thus, conservative lawmakers argued that leaving Hyde language out of coronavirus relief could lead to federal funding for abortion in the future.

Specifically, President Trump stalled approval of coronavirus relief, urging Pelosi to include Hyde language.

Rewire argues that “Trump would rather stall efforts to mitigate the coronavirus’ impact in order to appease the anti-choice radicals that make up his political base. That tells us he’s fine gambling with the lives of the disabled, elderly, and immunocompromised communities who are most at risk of developing complications when contracting coronavirus. That tells us that not only does Trump believe a fetus has rights, but he believes those rights matter more than anyone else.”

If anything, liberal lawmakers took the opportunity to amplify efforts to pass paid sick leave, and other important proposals related to healthcare, that have been in the works for over a decade.

Sources: USA Today, 3/18/20; Mother Jones, 3/13/20; Rewire 3/13/20

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