House Passes Bill Prohibiting Federal Funds Being Used for Abortions

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from The Wall Street Journal,

More Contentious 20-Week Ban Pulled by GOP Leaders, Causing Rift in Party.

Some female Republican and centrist lawmakers helped scuttle a vote on a controversial measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, prompting the House on Thursday to pass a separate, largely symbolic bill that would further restrict federal funding to pay for abortions.

The last-minute scramble laid bare a rift within the Republican Party and highlighted its delicate relationship with an issue that ties the GOP to social conservatives. Republicans want to show their commitment to curbing abortions without turning off women voters who hold mixed views on the procedure.

Thursday’s House vote was timed to coincide with antiabortion activists’ March for Life annual gathering on the National Mall, as well as the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.

The bill approved Thursday, which would ban the use of federal funds to pay for abortions or health-insurance plans that cover abortion, passed 242-179. There are already bans in place on using most federal funds for abortion. One Republican, Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, voted against the bill.

The White House said President Barack Obama would likely veto it.

House GOP leaders decided late Wednesday to defer a vote on the measure banning abortions 20 weeks after conception. Among the stumbling blocks was the bill’s limited carve-out for rape victims, which required victims to report the rape to law-enforcement officials.

Some Republicans worried that this provision could exclude some rape victims or be construed as GOP lawmakers trying to compel rape victims to file police reports.

“The language needed to be adjusted because we want to get this bill passed,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R., Mo.) said.

Some House Republicans also questioned why the party would pivot away from economic concerns and wade into thornier social issues.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has expressed support for a 20-week abortion ban, which Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Thursday he would introduce after working out issues with the rape-reporting element.

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