House Republicans passed H.R. 3 in latest attack on women’s reproductive rights

House Republicans unanimously and conveniently abandoned their sacrosanct pro-small government, pro-free market, and (supposedly) pro-small businesses platforms to pass H.R. 3 in the GOP’s latest assault on women’s reproductive rights.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). PHOTO SOURCE: U.S. Congress

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” was approved by a vote of 251 to 175, with 16 Democrats siding with the Republicans. Earlier this year, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), had unsuccessfully tried to include the “forcible rape” language in H.R. 3 that redefines rape to exclude statutory rape, sexual assault of women who have been drugged or who are mentally disabled.

Not only would H.R. 3 permanently codify the Hyde Amendment (the law that bars federal funding of abortion services renewed by Congress every year since 1976), the bill blatantly tampers with the U.S. tax code to restrict people’s legal medical choices for family planning and women’s reproductive health.

Doesn’t this sound vaguely like the type of big government takeover of health care detested by Republicans?

“The bill would enshrine into law extreme funding restrictions on abortion care, putting women’s health and lives at risk,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “If you think this savage attack on women’s health will stop with abortion, think again. Less than a month has passed since these same men nearly shut down the government to define contraception, pap smears and HIV screenings as equivalent to abortion care.”

The changes to the tax code would put legal abortion services financially out of reach for many middle-class and low-income women. First, the bill would prohibit women or families from deducting the cost of abortion, which is listed by the IRS as a legitimate medical expense, from their taxes. Furthermore, H.R. 3 would, in effect, raise taxes on private insurance companies that provide abortion coverage and ban small businesses from writing off insurance expenses for their taxes if they subscribe to a health plan that covers abortion services. What happened to the so-called “free market” and reducing government regulations? Why are Republicans punishing small businesses by taking away tax incentives for providing their employees with health insurance?

H.R. 3 is another example of the GOP’s willingness to contradict the principles they preach to deny women the right to choose.

 

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16 Democrats who voted for H.R. 3: