Congress attempts to ban tax money for District abortions

Remember when Congress shutdown the government and screwed over D.C.? Well, it looks like Congress is already back to  screwing with the District.

Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, held a hearing Jan. 9 focused on a bill to indefinitely stop the District from spending taxpayer money to fund abortions for low-income women. In a burst of originality, Congress named the bill “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” and it also prohibits states from using federal grants for funding these abortions, according to the Washington City Paper.

Not only is the panel on the bill entirely made up of men, but D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was denied in her request to testify in person on the issue, according to the Washingtonian. This political maneuver disregards standard congressional courtesy of allowing representatives to speak on behalf of legislation affecting their district.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Norton have spoken out against the bill, saying that it is undemocratic to exclude local leaders from the issue.

“Not only would this bill harm women of the United States, but it would make matters worse for the women of the District of Columbia by also eliminating part of the local government’s authority to regulate its own affairs and spend its own funds,” said Norton in a statement against the bill, according to the Washingtonian.

A federal budget deal in 2011 temporarily banned D.C. from using tax money to pay for abortions. If this new bill passed, it would be the first permanent ban ever enacted. Because D.C.’s funds are federal money, its budget has to be approved by Congress, making the national government’s problems D.C.’s problems.

President of H*yas for Choice Laura Narefsky (COL ’14) said in an email to Vox: “Having a small circle of men attempting to make decisions for the entire population of D.C. shows how backwards and out of touch we still are on many modern issues of healthcare.”

According to the DCist, the bill has “essentially no chance of being passed by the Senate.”

Photo: eGuide Travel via Flickr

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