Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the lead co-sponsors of a new bill to limit federal funding for abortions, says he does not intend for the bill to prevent women who have been raped from getting Medicaid-funded abortions.
Abortion advocates told Nick Baumann at Mother Jones magazine that the proposed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would tighten the existing exceptions for Medicaid abortions to "forcible rape" from rape. The advocates said they worried the language would prevent women who had been drugged and raped, along with any woman who was raped without the use of explicit physical force, from being able to access Medicaid if they became pregnant and wanted to get an abortion.
"The Hyde Amendment allows for taxpayer funding of abortion in very limited cases, including if the pregnancy is the result of rape," Lipinski said in a statement to The Lookout. "The language of H.R. 3 was not intended to change existing law regarding taxpayer funding for abortion in cases of rape, nor is it expected that it would do so. Nonetheless, the legislative process will provide an opportunity to clarify this should such a need exist."
Lipinski says the point of the bill is to ensure that no agency is getting around the rules prohibiting taxpayer-funded abortions. The bill also eliminates tax credits for private insurance companies who help pay for abortions, which some say could cause insurers to unilaterally drop abortion coverage.
Most of the bill's 173 sponsors are Republican.