For the second year in a row, the House voted yesterday to forbid use of federal employes' health insurance to pay for most abortions. The majority brushed aside protests that this would unfairly deny benefits purchased with private funds.
The provision, offered by Rep. John Ashbrook (R-Ohio) and adopted 253 to 167, is identical to one that died in the Senate last year. It says policies paid for partly by the government and partly by its employes could not be used for abortions except where the mother's life was in danger. This would go beyond the language agreed to by Congress earlier this year forbidding federally funded abortions under the Medicaid program for poor women.
Rep. Les AuCoin (D-Ore.) denounced the anti-abortion proposal, saying, "This madness has gone to far." He said he was tired of watching a nearly all-male House repeatedly vote for anti-abortion riders to money bills without realizing the pain they were causing women across the country.
AuCoin said that under the Ashbrook amendment his teen-age daughter, if raped, "must have the rapist's child. Who do members of the House think they are to subject my daughter or anybody's daughter to such bondage?"
Rep. Clair Burgener (R-Calif.) said he has changed his mind since last year and now opposes the provision because "this deals with earnings of federal employes. It is none our business how they spend their own money."