A House Appropriations subcommittee voted yesterday to tighten the existing curb on federal funding of abortions for low-income women, setting the stage for another lengthy battle with the Senate over the issue.
The subcommittee language would allow abortions only where the life of the womon would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to ttrm. Use of federal funds under the Medicaid program would be barred for all other types of abortions.
This language is similar to the position the House took last year and is substantially stricter than Medicaid abortion curbs in existing low, which expire Sept. 30.
Under existing law, federal funding of abortions under the Medicaid program is allowed when the life of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy, in case of rape and incest, and when the woman would suffer "severe and long-lasting physical health damage" from continuation of her pregnancy.
Rep. Silvio-Conte (R-Mass.), who favors the House language, predicted another big fight with the Senate, which has supported the more permissive version in the past.Lost year, the House voted for strict abortions curbs, the Senate voted for much less restrictivt curbs, and it wasn't until Dec. 7 that existing law was worked out after repeated roll calls, battles, conference meetings and confrontations.
"It'll be the old scenario," Conte predicted. "A rerun of last year." [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] tr for add two [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
The abortion curb was added as a rider to the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare. It bars the use of any funds in the bill for abortions except to save the life of the woman. Conte said there was little discussion - barely a minute - because everyone present knew that the language had a big majority on the subcommitte. It was approved by voice vote.
The National Abortion Rights League said the Subcommittee's action as an "absolute disregard for the rights of poor women who cannot afford to pay for abortions themselves and depend on public subsidy for all their medical care."