Tuesday, October 26, 2021

#ProLife implications of #HR2119, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021

Today, October 26, 2021, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2119, the “Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021,” by a vote of 228 – 200.

Background: The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), which was enacted as Title III of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-457), is one of two main pieces of legislation used to provide federal support for preventing and responding to domestic violence. H.R. 2119 would reauthorize FVSPA through fiscal year 2026. More information on the FVPSA is available in this report by the Congressional Research Service and in the attached resources from the Education and Labor Committee.

Because previous iterations of the law stated that the assistance provided did not allow “reimbursement for any health-care services,” it was clear that abortion would not be funded through this program.

H.R. 2119 removes that prohibition and fails to include Hyde protections to prevent the funding available through the FVPSA from paying for elective abortion.

Implications:

  • Appropriated funds for FVPSA remain Hyde-protected but are at increased risk in FY22 spending: FVPSA is funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill, so, as of now, the Hyde Amendment would continue to provide protection even if H.R. 2119 – the authorization – is passed and removes the prohibition against reimbursement for healthcare services. However, the House Majority has repeatedly indicated their intention to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and the House-passed FY22 LHHS appropriations bill explicitly removes Hyde. Removing the prohibition on health care funding within the authorization opens the door for future funds appropriated through LHHS Appropriations to FVPSA to be used to fund elective abortion.

  • Immediate Hyde Problem for FVPSA Funds Provided Outside of LHHS Appropriations: The proposed FY2022 reconciliation legislation provides $27 million in funding to the FVPSA and lacks Hyde protection (See Sec. 25002). If H.R. 2119 succeeds in removing protections against funding abortion through FVPSA, this funding and other funding provided outside the appropriations process could be used to fund elective abortion.

Pro-Life Amendment: A substitute amendment, sponsored by Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA), which would authorize $270 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, also contains language specifically prohibiting the use of funding for abortions and abortion referrals. Rep. Letlow's remarks in support of her amendment may be viewed here.

The amendment was considered as part of En Bloc #2, which failed to pass in the House of Representatives by a vote of 175-250.

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