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Pallone Votes Against Dangerous Attack on Women’s Access to Healthcare

January 25, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, voted against H.R.7, a bill that would have the effect of taking away the comprehensive private health insurance coverage that millions of women have today. House Republicans passed the bill by a vote of 238-183.

The radical bill places restrictions on how women with private insurance can spend private dollars in purchasing health insurance. Among its provisions, the bill would deny a small employer the ability to use tax credits created by the Affordable Care Act to provide employee health coverage if the coverage includes abortion services. It also states that families buying insurance in the Marketplaces cannot receive a premium tax credit if they have enrolled in a health plan that covers abortion. 


Congressman Pallone voiced his opposition to H.R. 7 in the following statement for the record:


M. Speaker I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 7 – another radical attempt by House Republicans to attack women’s health and limit women’s access to comprehensive care.

            The real purpose of this bill is to effectively eliminate insurance coverage for abortion services, not only for federally funded coverage, but also for private health insurance by raising taxes on women, their families, and small businesses.

            My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that this bill just codifies the Hyde Amendment, which already prohibits federal funding for abortion except in limited cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, and it is already enacted each year in appropriations.

             But in reality, this bill goes much further than that.  Instead of just limiting the Hyde Amendment’s reach to federal funds, this bill would place sweeping restrictions on how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars when obtaining insurance coverage.

            Women and their families who have insurance through the health insurance marketplaces would no longer be entitled to premium tax credits if the plan in which they are enrolled includes abortion coverage. Small business employers would be prohibited from receiving small business tax credits if the insurance provided to employees includes abortion services.

            This would mean that women would likely forgo comprehensive coverage in order to retain the premium tax credits they need, and small businesses may limit coverage to ensure they receive small business tax credits. But this is the true goal for proponents of this bill: to effectively eliminate insurance coverage for abortion.

As we speak, Republicans are actively working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, to restrict access to contraception, and to defund the life-saving health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. It seems that this bill is another page in their playbook to attack women’s health. Let me be clear: this bill isn’t about ensuring federal funds are not used for abortion – this bill is about denying women access to coverage Republicans disagree with.

            Bringing this bill to the floor only days after millions of women throughout the country marched on behalf of issues like reproductive rights just shows how tone-deaf House Republicans continue to be.

            We should be working to protect and expand women’s access to comprehensive health care, not considering ways to deny it.