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Bill Restricting D.C. Abortion Funding Moves Forward

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The House bill has not yet seen a vote on the floor.
Victoria Pickering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpickering/4607909002/
The House bill has not yet seen a vote on the floor.

A bill that restricts abortions in the District has been moved ahead by Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee.

It's a spending bill, but Republicans once again inserted a contentious policy issue into its pages. The policy rider says no D.C. tax dollars can go to abortions.

Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran is on the Appropriations Committee. He says the Republican abortion restriction is hypocritical.

"These Republicans talk about federalism, and then restrict D.C. residents' right to govern themselves," Moran says.

The legislation also includes non-binding language that rejects a referendum D.C. voters overwhelmingly passed to give the city autonomy of its budget. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says it's good the language is non-binding.

"I think we ought to take note of the fact that, at least of this moment, no action has been taken to turn around the will of the people," Holmes-Norton says.

She says voters acted because Congress hasn't.

"We can understand fully why the people felt they had to move ahead with Congress not doing its job," she says. "Now we've got to use the fact that the people have moved ahead to get Congress to at the very least to do its job. And certainly not to turn around what the people in fact decided should be done with the money they and they alone raise in the District of Columbia."

The bill also prohibits federal funds from going to the city's needle exchange and medical marijuana programs. The measure has yet to be scheduled for a floor vote.

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