The U.S. House of Representatives passed another bill to ensure tax payer's dollars will not cover the cost of abortion under health care reform. The hyde amendment already prohibits any federal dollars from paying for abortions. This bill takes it a step farther, click here to read a summary of the bill. The Smith Bill would deny tax credits to small business who offer private health insurance that covers abortion. This bill would also stop the annual renewal of the hyde amendment. Finally the bill would permanently deny the District of Columbia from using local dollars to pay for abortion. According to an article in Ms. Magazine the bill also prohibits women in the military from obtaining abortion in military hospitals overseas even if they use their own money to pay for it. The bill also includes a life endangerment and rape exception.
A New York Times editorial stated the presidential administration will veto the bill thus is will not become law. RHrealitycheck.org offers a pretty comprehensive break down of the bill here. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) put out a toolkit including a sample letter to send to state representatives, urging them to oppose this bill, and explaining how this bill specifically affects access to health care in Latino communities.
I am not much of a policy buff. I spend most of my time in direct service. My job is affected by both state and federal policies on a day-to-day basis. However, I spend little time trying to comprehend the dozens of laws that are considered concerning abortion. I know that most of them are not good and when I think about what bills like the Smith bill mean about access to basic health care I get really angry. It awesome that there are organizations focused on policy such as NLIRH that are creating toolkits like the one mentioned above.