Today, Congressman Sires voted against, H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, to restrict women's access to reproductive health care services. This bill goes beyond federal statute and in effect would restrict, for the first time, what women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health insurance.
"Instead of focusing on legislation that will create Jobs, the majority party has turned its agenda to rolling-back the legal rights of American women," stated Congressman Sires. "Federal law already restricts taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions, but this bill would go even further by restricting women with private insurance from choosing how they can spend their own private dollars on health care insures."
Specifically, H.R. 358, undermines the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and supersedes decades of federal policy governing abortion. The Hyde amendment, which has been in effect for decades and prevents federal funds from being used for abortions (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered). The ACA is consistent with the Hyde amendment by prohibiting the use of federal subsidies provided under the Act from being used to pay for abortion coverage in the newly established Exchanges. Rather, H.R. 358, would likely shut down the private market for abortion coverage for women in the Exchanges. Lastly, the bill restricts women's access to emergency treatment by placing conscience-clause concerns for providers above the urgent needs of women.