In a late-night session at 1:41 a.m., the U.S. House placed a domestic anti-abortion “gag-rule” amendment on the Quality Health-Care Coalition Act of 2000, which extends collective bargaining powers to doctors working under HMOs. The harsh and punitive amendment, introduced by Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK), would prevent doctors from discussing abortion or referring patients for abortion services. If this amendment were to become law, it would dramatically restrict women’s access to abortion.
“This vote,” says Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, “shows the determination of the Republican-controlled House to eradicate women’s access to abortion at all costs, and indicates the importance of the power of the President to veto such anti-woman legislation.”
Coburn’s proposed amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which would effectively prevent the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, was scheduled for the floor this week, but has been delayed until July 10, after the 4th of July holiday. Mifepristone, a drug that has been available outside the U.S. for 12 years, would provide women with a safe method of early non-surgical abortion.