The American Rescue Plan of 2021, which passed the House last week, does not include traditional abortion funding restrictions. Pro-life groups, including the U.S. bishops' conference (USCCB), have warned that it would result in a significant increase in funding of abortions, abortion coverage, and abortion providers.
The president of March for Life Action, Tom McClusky, said the relief bill "has the potential to be the largest expansion of abortion funding since Obamacare."
In 2010, the USCCB opposed the Affordable Care Act in large part due to expectations that it would allow for subsidies of abortion coverage. A 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office found that abortion coverage was being subsidized in health care plans under the law.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, said on EWTN's The World Over on Thursday that the funding to state and local governments in the bill has "absolutely no strings" attached and could go to abortion providers. In addition, federally-qualified health centers would receive billions of dollars; once subject to pro-life funding restrictions, Smith said the federally-funded centers could now do abortions under the COVID relief bill.
On Friday, Gomez noted that Congress for 45 years "has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions."
The Hyde Amendment, enacted in law each year since 1976 as a rider to budget bills, prohibits federal funding of elective abortions. Once receiving bipartisan support, the policy is now opposed by leading Democrats-including by previous long-time supporter President Biden.