May 17, 2012 — The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed a $39.1 billion Homeland Security spending bill that includes an amendment barring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from paying for abortion care for detainees, except in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is in danger, CQ Today reports.
The amendment, which was approved on a 28-21 vote, would prohibit the use of ICE funding to require anyone to perform or facilitate an abortion. It does not bar ICE officials from taking a woman outside of a detention facility to obtain abortion care.
House Security Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who proposed the amendment, said it would codify an existing ICE policy and is identical to language that has been in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill for two decades.
Democrats said the amendment is a political move that detracts from the purpose of the underlying bill. "It is wrong, it is politically motivated and it really states that this is the only weapon or tool you have to create divisiveness" around security issues, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said, adding that ICE considers the bill duplicative (Gardner, CQ Today, 5/16).
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards also spoke out against the amendment, saying, "Abortion has no business being debated as part of a Homeland Security funding bill." She added, "For months we've seen opponents of women's health focus more on limiting women's access to health services than on expanding jobs, growing the economy and now, protecting U.S. national security" (McCarthy, National Journal, 5/16).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership