Democratic Congresswomen Slam Restrictions on Tax-Funded Abortions in Zika Bill

By Lauretta Brown | May 19, 2016 | 3:34 PM EDT

Gleyse Kelly da Silva holds her daughter Maria Giovanna, who has microcephaly, as she sleeps in their house in Brazil. (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) along with her colleagues Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) released a statement Wednesday opposing the House Republicans’ bill for funding to combat the Zika virus for “including Hyde language that denies access to abortions.”

They argued that the legislation “falls far short of what is needed,” because “it would provide insufficient funding of $622 million, significantly below the President’s request of $1.9 billion and about half the level in the Senate bill.”

“Finally, by including Hyde language that denies access to abortions for women receiving Medicaid, women in the Peace Corps and military, federal workers and others,” they said, “it continues discriminatory policies that deny women vital reproductive health care services based on their income, their insurance, and where they work."

The legislation ultimately passed the House Wednesday evening in a 241-184 vote.

The Hyde Amendment, prohibits federal funding of abortions, with exceptions for abortions done in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother.  

The House Appropriations Committee noted that the bill “reiterates existing, strong legislative protections against the use of funding for abortions.”

The text of the bill, the Zika Response Appropriations Act of 2016, notes that the amounts appropriated in the bill are “subject to the requirements for funds contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016” which contains the Hyde Amendment language in Sec. 506.

“This funding is critical to stop the spread of Zika, and to protect our most vulnerable people both here at home and abroad. Every child deserves the chance at a full and healthy life, and every mother deserves to see her child thrive. This measure will help make sure this happens, while doing it in an effective, efficient, and responsible way,” the bill’s sponsor, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

President Obama has warned that he would veto the bill, according to the Hill. White House spokesman Josh Earnest also blasted it Wednesday as "a dumb approach."`

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