The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

Senator Collins and Mister Hyde The GOP Makes a Dangerous Bargain To Prevent Government Shutdown

Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt


When Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) promised Mitch McConnell her vote on the Republican tax bill, she was promised action on legislation to stabilize the health care markets in return. But anti-abortion ideologues in Congress are insisting on including an exception in the spending bill that would include Hyde Amendment language prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion.

The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion care. This effectively bans the procedure for countless individuals-notably women enrolled in Medicaid. Worse still, low-paid women, young women, and women of color are hit hardest by the restriction.

The law's author, former Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, justified it as politically expedient, saying: "I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion--a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman."

With these measures added to the stopgap government funding bill, the GOP has moved on from a tax bill that contained a stealth attack on Obamacare to a government funding bill that's a vehicle for a Hyde Amendment Trojan Horse.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that adding Hyde Amendment language to the bill would "kill it altogether." We will hold Senate Democrats to account and expect they will prevent this dead of night sneak attack on abortion care for the poorest and most vulnerable women.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.