Yet another anti-choice measure was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. The amendment, offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., would ban health centers from using federal funds for comprehensive medical training, which often includes instruction in the provision of abortion procedures.
Critics argue that the medical procedures benefiting from this type of training aren’t strictly used to terminate unwanted pregnancies. In fact, the same procedures would be used to terminate wanted pregnacies that are putting a woman’s health in danger and could be critical to saving a woman’s life in the event of an emergency.
“Regardless of how one feels about legal abortion, reasonable lawmakers can agree that doctors should be as well trained as possible to deal with any medical situation that may arise,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in a statement released Wednesday. “Women should have access to the best care possible in any and all circumstances. This amendment is yet another example of the disregard anti-choice politicians have for women’s health.”
In a press release, Foxx said she wanted to ”ensure taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for the abhorrent practice of abortion.” Foxx was quoted by the Associated Press as saying she wanted to make it ”crystal clear that taxpayer money is not being used to train health care providers to perform abortion procedures.”
The amendment passed 234-182, in spite of objections from some Democrats who argued that those very procedures are imperative and basic to a woman’s health.
Though she has described it as an anti-abortion measure, Foxx’s legislation could criminalize would outlaw the use of federal funds for training for in common gynecological procedures, as well. Dilation and curettage, for instance, is a method of first trimester abortion — but also a diagnostic gynecological procedure. Procedures like dilation and curettage are often performed following ”false pregnancies” such as blighted ova — in which the egg is fertilized but not viable. And though they are fairly common, the risks associated with not performing them, or performing them incorrectly, are often high. (According to AmericanPregnancy.org, a failed or incomplete procedure would likely lead to additional surgery.)
The bill will next be considered by the Senate.
An earlier version of this story suggested Foxx’s amendment would criminalize the training itself, which it does not. We regret the error.