The so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act made headlines in January for its attempt to redefine rape. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment limited federal funding for abortion to cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman.
The bill seeks to limit funding even further in a number of ways, including the insertion of the word forcible before rape. This would have excluded statutory rape, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, and potentially many date rapes.
A successful week of lobbying by womens rights groups led the bills author to retract the forcible rape provision and return to the original language of the Hyde Amendment.
Unfortunately, the central provisions of the bill remain intact. It would bar outright the use of federal subsidies to buy any insurance that covers abortion.
Clearly, this would create a whole class of health insurers that will refuse to cover this procedure, increasing the number of women in this country who nominally have the right to choose but no actual ability to make this choice.
As if this is not enough, a separate bill would deny federal funds for family planning services to any organization that also provides abortions. This is aimed primarily at Planned Parenthoods hundreds of health centers, which provide many valuable services, often in areas where there are few other providers.