The House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment yesterday to the federal appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2010 that would have enabled the continuance of a ban on using local funds to help low-income women in Washington, DC access abortion services. The Tiahrt-Davis Amendment failed on a 26 to 33 vote. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) spoke against the amendment. If the bill passes as is, the DC government will be able to reinstate of practice of using local funds to fund abortions for low-income women.
The bill is scheduled to be marked up by the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow. It is probable that this provision of the bill will also be faced with resistance from Republicans on the Senate committee.
In its current form, the appropriations bill also ends a ban on the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs and a ban that prohibits the use of federal funds for registration of domestic partners in the District. Another provision would allow DC to conduct a referendum on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most of these restrictive bans were implemented in the late 1990s under a Republican-controlled Congress.