House Democrats are planning to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, a provision that prohibits using federal programs like Medicaid to pay for abortions. Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., considers it one of her priorities; Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has signaled support. In response, 200 of the 211 House Republicans recently signed a letter demanding its preservation.
At first glance, these actions appear to fit a long-standing pattern in which Republicans advocate for policies to curtail abortion and contraception, while Democrats seek to broaden women's access to reproductive health services. But this generalization masks a great deal of change in how Congress has handled abortion over time.