Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) voted today against H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, the Republicans' latest attempt to restrict women's access to reproductive health care services. The bill passed the House 251-172. Despite claims from supporters of H.R. 358, the Affordable Care Act already prohibits the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. H.R. 358 seeks to go far beyond the Hyde Amendment and President Obama's executive order signed last year prohibiting taxpayer-funded abortions. For the first time, the Protect Life Act would limit how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health insurance.
"It is an unconscionable insult to women to see the Republican majority continue to pursue their ideological agenda with this dangerous, extreme, and divisive piece of legislation," said Congresswoman Edwards. "We should be focused on the number one priority of all Americans: job creation. Instead, the bill brought forth today is the latest Republican attack on a woman's right to access comprehensive and affordable reproductive health care. This irresponsible legislation takes unprecedented steps to restrict how women use their own money to purchase a comprehensive health plan that includes abortion coverage, undermines a woman's right to emergency treatment for life-threatening conditions, and limits access to health exchanges that offer reproductive services. President Obama already threatened to veto this legislation and I share that view. This assault on women's rights must stop, and I ask my Republican colleagues to set aside their ideological agenda and make America's future their top priority."