Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) characterized the GOP’s recent legislative effort to restrict access to abortion and contraception as “the most comprehensive and radical assault on women’s health in our life time,” on a conference call with reporters and bloggers this afternoon and promised to wage a campaign against the effort. Pelosi was referring to the Republican-backed H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and H.R. 358, “Protect Life Act,” as well separate measures to eliminate federal funding for family planning.
“They’re proposing raising taxes on small business,” Pelosi said, of the two bills. “Under current law, women can buy insurance that covers a full range of reproductive health care. Under the Republican plan, women in private plans can’t use their private money to purchase a full range of reproductive health care, effectively taking away the right of women to spend their own money on the health care they choose.” “Small businesses that received tax credits for their employees will lose their tax credit if they choose a full range of plans that cover women’s health,” Pelosi added.
H.R. 3 would eliminate any tax breaks for health care plans that include abortion coverage, denying tax credits to employers or other entities that pay for health plans that cover abortion, while H.R. 358 would also prohibit federal funding for abortions under the Affordable Care Act and “prevent funding from being withheld from institutions that refuse to provide abortions.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who joined Pelosi on the call, warned that the GOP proposals went beyond restricting abortion, and would also limit access to family planning services. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has said that he plans to offer a proposal to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, which provides contraceptives and family planning services, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) yesterday released a plan that would eliminate Title X funding. “This is a very, very, real threat,” DeGettte warned. “The first vote could come as early as next week and we’re expecting a vote within the next few weeks or months.”
“Heck, out of all the things you can say about their approach, that they don’t even have funding for family planning and contraception is something that we’ve never been able to convince the public of but it is true and it has always been their agenda,” Pelosi added, before saying that Democrats will work to pressure moderate pro-life Republicans on the spot to push them to vote against cutting off funds to family planning services.
While some would expect abortion opponents to support family planning programs that reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, Pelosi argued that conservative Republicans are “in a different philosophical place on…all engagements that result in a child. So that’s why homosexuality, that’s why birth control, all these things that are not consistent with their beliefs that are all about procreation.”