The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a near $1 trillion spending package that includes several provisions reversing the Trump administration's anti-choice policies. Reproductive-health advocates lauded H.R. 2740 as a victory for family planning and healthcare in general.
The legislation permanently repeals the domestic gag rule and global gag rule, which block local and international organizations that offer or even discuss abortion care from receiving federal funding; increases funding for the Title X program; offers at least $750 million for international family planning programs; and blocks a Trump administration rule allowing health providers to refuse care on a "freedom of conscience" basis to patients who've had abortions or are LGBTQ+, among other measures. The spending bill also blocks President Donald Trump's measure banning transgender people from serving in the military.
"Today is a victory for all who believe in the fundamental right to access affordable birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and access to other essential healthcare," Leana Wen, MD, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "On behalf of the millions across the country who rely on Title X for healthcare and millions more around the world counting on U.S. global health programs, we applaud our champions in Congress for blocking the Trump-Pence administration’s unethical, dangerous domestic and global gag rules and their attacks on people's healthcare, freedom, and rights."
The pro-choice provisions in the spending bill come as anti-abortion lawmakers across the nation continue to introduce and pass an unprecedented number of measures restricting access to the procedure or outright banning it in most circumstances. According to the Guttmacher Institute, at least 378 abortion restrictions were introduced between January 1 and May 20 of this year, 40% of which banned the procedure.
However, the legislation does include the renewal of the Hyde Amendment, the 1977 provision that prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman's life is in danger. The amendment has been a hot topic of debate among the Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls.
Negotiations over spending will continue between the Democratic-controlled House, the Republican-controlled Senate, and the Trump administration to come to an agreement before the new fiscal year begins in October 2019.
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