In a rare moment of a House Republican taking leadership in support of women’s health, Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) introduced a bill that would prohibit discrimination against a hospital, clinic, or other health care provider based upon that provider’s provision of abortion care. Basically this means that these entities can receive public funds to provide contraceptive services, for example, if they also provide privately paid abortion services. Federal law already prohibits public funding for most abortion services, but the ongoing assault at the state and federal level to preventing funding for women’s health care from going to organizations that also provide abortion services pushed Dold to action. This bill in many ways seeks to address in the United States the issues that come up with the Global Gag Rule internationally.
Dold expressed need for the bill because of “the growing number of efforts to discriminate against and exclude organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in health care programs”. Though no one expects the Republican majority in the House to pass the Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act, we welcome the effort by Rep. Dold to bring forward this straightforward approach to health care. Given the ongoing assault on contraceptive access at the state and federal level, it is a welcome site to see this Member of Congress working to protect women’s health.