ACLU Statement on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Spending Bill

July 19, 2017 9:15 am

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WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee will consider today the annual spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The bill includes numerous provisions that would jeopardize access to reproductive health care and weaken civil rights protections.

“This funding bill would have a devastating impact on access to reproductive health care across the country,” said Faiz Shakir, national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “It would cut off patients from receiving care at Planned Parenthood and from using critical family planning services, while tacking on discriminatory policies that undermine women’s ability to obtain safe and legal abortion care. The bill also weakens civil rights protections by hindering government oversight that ensures taxpayer dollars are not going to businesses that engage in discrimination. Congress should reject this bill.”

The bill would exclude Planned Parenthood from participation in any program funded by the bill, blocking millions of patients from accessing care at its clinics. It would also completely eliminate funding for the Title X family planning program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, while increasing funding for abstinence-only programs that put young people at risk.

In addition, the bill contains several harmful policies that limit abortion access. This includes the Conscience Protection Act, a measure that would facilitate discrimination against women seeking abortion care because of unfounded religious liberty claims. The bill also perpetuates the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which denies abortion coverage to low-income women enrolled in Medicaid.

The bill also proposes $11 million in cuts to the budget of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) within the Department of Labor. The OFCCP is a civil rights enforcement agency that is tasked with ensuring that taxpayer dollars, in the form of federal contracts, don’t go to businesses that engage in discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and disability.

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