The House of Representatives voted last week to withhold federal financial assistance from Americans signing up for health insurance plans that cover abortion.
Ignoring a White House veto threat, majority Republicans led the House in voting 227-188 for the measure that they insisted was necessary to permanently bar any taxpayer dollars for abortion amid implementation of the four-year-old law.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., an abortion foe, said the measure would codify the so-called Hyde amendment, the current law that prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. First passed in 1976, the Hyde amendment has been added each year to spending bills and has banned federal funds for decades.
Republicans argued that it wasn’t sufficient in the face of the health care law.
“Under the Affordable Care Act, massive amounts of public funds in the form of tax credits — $796 billion in direct spending over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office — will pay for insurance plans, many, perhaps most of which will include elective abortion,” Smith said. “That massively violates the Hyde amendment.”