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‘We are a pro-life Congress’: House votes to make Hyde amendment permanent

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and the Republican leadership face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, as he announced that he has invited President Donald Trump to address a Joint Session of Congress on Feb. 28. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 7 Tuesday, legislation that — if passed by the Senate and signed by the president — would make the Hyde amendment permanent law.

The amendment, named for the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortion procedures.

The bill — dubbed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act — passed in a 238 to 183 vote, with 11 members not voting. Three Democrats — Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — joined Republicans in supporting the legislation.

Supporters of the legislation say it saves lives and protects the conscience of taxpayers opposed to abortion, but opponents argue that it discriminates against low-income women by denying them access to a medical procedure like any other.

“We are a pro-life Congress,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said in a statement regarding the legislation:

Today we renewed our commitment to the Hyde Amendment with the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. I want to thank Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) for his tireless commitment to this cause. This legislation protects the conscience of American taxpayers by ensuring that not a single dollar of their hard-earned money goes to fund abortions. As hundreds of thousands of Americans flock to Washington for the March for Life, we must never forget that defending all of our people—especially the defenseless—must be our top priority if we want to be a good and moral nation.

In remarks on the House floor, Rep. Jerrold Nadler called the legislation “unjust and despicable.”

"The intent of this bill is obvious: to end insurance coverage for all abortions, thereby making it nearly impossible for women to exercise their constitutional rights,” he said, adding that “Republicans should pay heed” to the women who participated in Women’s March demonstrations last Saturday.

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