The House Appropriations Committee voted against an amendment to the 2012 Financial Services and General Government spending bill that would have eliminated a provision banning the District of Columbia from using its own funds to pay for abortions for low income women. The 27-20 vote fell along party lines, with the Democratic minority protesting that the federal government was interfering in the city’s affairs.
“It’s not a colony, it’s the nation’s capital,” argued Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), sponsor of the amendment to remove the amendment. “Its residents deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.” Lee’s amendment did not however aim to overturn a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion services in the District.
The Congressional 2011 short-term spending bill approved in April also included similar prohibitions on DC tax dollars for abortion services. Local activists say they remain hopeful that Obama and Democrats will oppose the abortion ban when the bill reaches the Senate.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 6/24/11; Washington Post 6/23/11, 6/15/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/12/11