Bill description

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ-4) introduced H.R. 18 in the House on February 5, 2021. This bill modifies provisions relating to federal funding for, and health insurance coverage of abortions.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions or for health coverage that includes abortions. Additionally, abortions may not be provided in a federal health care facility or by a federal employee.

Historically, language has been included in annual appropriations bills for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions—such language is commonly referred to as the Hyde Amendment. Similar language is also frequently included in appropriations bills for other federal agencies and the District of Columbia. The bill makes these restrictions permanent and extends the restrictions to all federal funds (rather than specific agencies).

The bill's restrictions regarding the use of federal funds do not apply in cases of rape, incest, or where a physical disorder, injury, or illness endangers a woman's life unless an abortion is performed. The Hyde Amendment provides the same exceptions.

The bill also prohibits qualified health plans from including coverage for abortions. Currently, qualified health plans may cover abortion, but the portion of the premium attributable to abortion coverage is not eligible for subsidies.

Supporting this bill would protect the sanctity of life by more permanently preventing federal funding and insurance coverage for abortion.

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