by Charles Lemos, Sat Apr 09, 2011 at 07:15:03 PM EDT
The budget deal agreed to Friday night between Congressional leaders and brokered by the President to avert a government shutdown includes a provision banning the District of Columbia from spending its own funds to subsidize abortions for low-income women.
Specifically, the rider reads as follows:
Prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own, non-federal funds to pay for abortions beyond the very limited circumstances in which federal funds are currently available (in circumstances of rape or incest and to save the life of a pregnant woman). Sec. 1590.
Republicans also managed to retain a rider prohibiting the District of Columbia from using Federal funds for a syringe exchange program even though such programs have long been proven as a cost-effective means of preventing transmissions of deadly diseases. However, the GOP did find the necessary funds to restart the city's controversial school voucher program, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, that is really no more than a boondoggle for religious schools. The program has been a priority of House Speaker John Boehner, using Federal tax dollars to subsidize private-school tuition. Both DC Mayor Vince Gray and DC's non-voting Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton oppose the school voucher program.
It's pretty evident that GOP is captive to the interests of the Christian Right. Bill by bill and whenever they can, they inch us forward towards a theocracy.
UPDATE: Via Politico, the reaction of DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to the riders concerning the District in the budget:
“This morning, District residents learned that the administration and Senate Democrats were willing to let the House Republicans treat them as second-class citizens,” Norton wrote in a statement. “I am relieved that the bill did not include the national policy riders I abhorred. …However, this entire city of 600,000 taxpaying Americans has every reason to be angry that the administration and Senate Democrats did not draw a similar line in the sand that stopped at the District, and the self-governing rights of its citizens.”