House Republicans blocked a legislative rider that would have protected churches in California from being forced to pay for abortions, according to one lawmaker, because they needed Democratic support to pass the CRomnibus.
Representative John Fleming (R., Ariz.) tried to have the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act added to the cromnibus in response to a new regulation in California that requires all insurance plans to cover elective abortions.
“Even our own leadership stripped it out,” Fleming told reporters Wednesday. The rider didn’t make it through negotiations with Democrats in the House and Senate.
The federal government is supposed to revoke federal funding from state governments that “discriminat[es]” against those who refuse to provide abortion coverage, but President Obama’s administration has not enforced that provision of the law against California.
Fleming hoped Congress would “give a basis for private action” — that is, empower churches to file lawsuits against such rules.
Although Fleming acknowledged that the measure was a poison pill for Democrats, he said that was a reason for Republicans not to rush a bill through during the lame-duck that required Democratic support.
“It should be a foregone conclusion [next year],” he said.