The Hyde Amendment has banned almost all public funding of abortion for almost 40 years, much to the consternation of abortion rights advocates. Thursday’s bill would codify that and go even further, preventing any private insurance plan that covers abortion from receiving a federal subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. That, according to the National Women’s Law Center, “could result in the entire private insurance market dropping abortion coverage, thereby making such coverage unavailable to anyone.”
The bill, though long a conservative priority, wasn’t supposed to be the showpiece on what was, not coincidentally, the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But House Republicans needed to shift gears hastily after some Republican moderates balked over a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. GOPers needed something to pass in time for the cheers of anti-abortion protesters at the annual March for Life on the National Mall.
That didn’t happen. The problem wasn’t the substance of the bill, but rather a provision requiring rape victims to report to the police to qualify for an exception, which almost all Republicans had voted for in 2013.