Good news came out of the Senate last week, when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a "clean" D.C. spending bill that does not impose restrictions prohibiting the District from using its own local funds to provide abortion care for low-income women. Adding to this welcomed news is the fact that, despite concerns, no amendments were offered to impose such a restriction during consideration of the bill.
The Senate's actions are in stark contrast to the House Appropriations Committee, which earlier passed its own version of the bill with the abortion ban, setting up a clash on the issue between the two chambers later this year. The Obama administration criticized the House bill, stating that including the ban "undermines the principle of states' rights and of D.C. home rule." By reinstating this ban, non-resident Members of Congress seek to impose their own ideology, morality or religious beliefs upon D.C. residents and have callously disregarded the needs or wishes of the broader community or those directly impacted.
The Senate vote was a very important step in the right direction, however the fight has just begun. But today we applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee members who voted for this bill and celebrate an important victory.