House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the Democrats' effort to repeal the longstanding Hyde Amendment to allow taxpayer funding of abortion is the "right thing to do."
The Democratic majority on the House Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill that did not include the Hyde Amendment. A Republican amendment to include the Hyde Amendment language was rejected by committee Democrats. The same committee has also passed a foreign aid bill that does not include the Helms Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion internationally.
Pelosi was asked about the issue of federal funding of abortion on Thursday.
"It passed in committee," she said. "We think it is the right thing to do. It is something that many of us have been concerned about for a long time as an issue of health, as an issue of fairness, and we will send the bills over to the Senate. We'll see."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had called on legislators to maintain the Hyde Amendment in the appropriations bill before its passage out of the committee. If the final bill is approved by the Democrats' slim majorities in both the House and Senate, it would be the first time since 1976 that the Hyde Amendment is excluded from the federal budget.
Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include the Hyde Amendment in the appropriations bill that's due for a vote in the coming weeks.
Pelosi was pressed on why she thinks the Hyde Amendment should be overturned.
"Because it's an issue of health of many women in America, especially those in lower income situations and in different states, and it is something that has been a priority for many of us a long time," she said. "As a devout Catholic and mother of five in six years, I feel that God blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family, five children, and six years almost to the day, but it's not up to me to dictate that that's what other people should do. And it's an issue of fairness and justice for poor women in our country."