This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org.
The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act was hailed by both parties as a bipartisan achievement, replacing the much-derided No Child Left Behind Act, as an education law for the entire country. But did you know that the new law had anti-abortion language shoved into it?
Section 399Z-1 of the Health Service Act says funds awarded for a grant under the section about school-based health centers “may not be used to provide abortions.” As a result, congressional sources said, the language in the Every Student Succeeds Act was not actually necessary to ensure that public funds would not be spent in such a manner.
Now, as a practical matter the language in the law doesn’t actually have much of an effect, because a ban on using public money for that sort of abortion education already exists. But the language was put in because the Republican hard-right is obsessed with enacting restrictions on abortion, even ones that have no real purpose.
In the conference committee, when the final draft of the ESSA was crafted from House and Senate versions, a compromise was reached: a restatement of the Public Health Service Act provision banning abortions in school-based health centers would be included, but nothing else relating to women’s reproductive rights would, the congressional sources said.
Since they have taken over the House in 2010, Republicans have done their best to attack reproductive rights while at the same time engaging in antics that caused a government shutdown and the lowering of the U.S. credit rating. Then they held up immigration reform and have doggedly shot down attempts at legislation designed to reduce gun violence or to help the economy grow.
House Republicans also held shameful hearings in which they hounded Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, over the deceptively edited videos designed to smear Planned Parenthood’s reputation. In concert, presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina echoed the anti-Planned Parenthood videos in language that was shared with the deranged shooter who killed people at a Colorado Springs clinic.
They have an obsession with abortion, even though the vast majority of Americans support access to abortion (with some restrictions), so much so that a bill about education has become their latest vehicle to fire shots in the war on women.
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