For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 11, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, the sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to address the healthcare and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will help expand access to healthcare and provide additional funding for the Title X family planning program. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill earlier today following the Senate’s passage over the weekend.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“Delivering relief to millions of people hurt by this pandemic is a major victory and a critical step in ensuring the American people, especially those communities who’ve been hit the hardest, have a fighting chance at a path forward. NARAL applauds President Biden and the lawmakers who worked to bring this legislation to fruition, especially those who helped ensure funding for the Title X family planning program and stood strong against anti-choice politicians’ bad-faith attempts to hijack this bill in order to push restrictions on reproductive freedom.
Over the course of this devastating pandemic, we have witnessed elected officials at the federal and state level shamelessly cast aside people’s health and wellbeing to attack reproductive freedom. It is unfortunate yet unsurprising that Republicans in Congress tried to tack on amendments to this bill to undermine access to abortion and contraception, as well as expand the scope of the racist and discriminatory Hyde amendment and push reproductive healthcare out of reach for as many people as possible through coverage restrictions. While we celebrate today, we also must make clear that we expect all Democrats in Congress to demonstrate they will not stand for measures that disproportionately hurt people harmed by disparities in our healthcare systems, especially Black, Indigenous, and other women of color, transgender and non-binary people, and people with lower incomes. We are deeply disappointed by Senators Tim Kaine, Bob Casey, and Joe Manchin for supporting an expansion of the harmful Hyde amendment.”
The $1.9 trillion relief package passed the U.S. House on Wednesday by a vote of 220-211, and over the weekend passed the Senate 50-49. During this process Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) filed an amendment that would expand the reach and scope of the racist and discriminatory Hyde amendment, which ultimately failed by a vote of 52-47. Democratic Senators Tim Kaine (Virginia), Bob Casey (Pennsylvania), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) voted to approve Sen. Lankford’s amendment, along with all Republican senators present.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.