Senator Ron Johnson is expected to follow the science and vote for a congressional budget bill without harmful anti-abortion amendments.
For the first time in 45 years, the House of Representatives passed a federal budget that excluded the draconian Hyde and Weldon amendments. These two credit riders severely restrict access to abortion for women across the country, including Wisconsin. The Hyde Amendment, first proposed by Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, denies affordable abortion care to low-income women on Medicaid (one in five women in the United States), as well as ‘to those of the Indian health care system and the Peace Corps, unless their state is one of the few to cover such care. The Weldon Amendment, originally introduced in 2005, recklessly allows health care providers to refuse to cover, provide, pay or refer someone for an abortion on the basis of “religious or moral reasons”.
It is heartwarming to see this historic moment. However, the job is far from over. As the spending program enters the Senate, it is sure to face a major setback from religious extremists and anti-abortion lawmakers, including Johnson. When I asked him how he planned to vote (to be honest Johnson’s position on the matter is pretty clear), his office replied that “in the past he was pro-life.”
“Pro-life” is a curious label to apply to a lawmaker who described the deadly January 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill as little more than a “peaceful protest” and refuses to be vaccinated against COVID despite nearly 9 000 deaths in Wisconsin and 687,000 deaths nationwide.