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US House to Vote on Protect Life Act Today

Continuing its preoccupation with voting to restrict family planning and abortion rights, the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on HR 358, the “Protect Life Act,” sponsored by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA), today. The bill proposes to “prohibit federal funds from being used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services.” The bill, which purports to ensure that healthcare reform law does not cover the cost of abortions, is misleading because the Hyde Amendment has prohibited federal funding of abortion since 1976. The bill is very unlikely to pass the Senate.

Pitts is also the sponsor of the restrictive anti-abortion Stupak/Pitts amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962), which was ultimately not included in the final health reform package. If passed, the Stupak/ Pitts amendment would have banned abortion coverage for women in both the public option and private insurance, even if they were to pay out of pocket in the public option or through private plans in the insurance exchange.

Under Republican leadership, some five House committees and many subcommittees are voting to restrict reproductive health rights for women, while taking no action to increase the availability of jobs for Americans.

Library of Congress 10/13/11; Washington Times 10/12/11; Rachel Maddow 10/12/11