In a letter sent to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned of a “potential violation of the Hyde Amendment” by the Biden administration.
Responding to the OPM’s recently released advisory, issued June 27, assuring federal workers that sick leave may be used for out-of-state travel “to obtain medical care” for themselves or family members, Rubio demanded to know if this applies to abortions.
Rubio states in the letter addressed to OPM Director Kiran Ahuja: “Shortly after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, President Biden made it clear that ‘if any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman’s exercising her basic right to travel [for abortion], I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack.’”
“It is obvious given the timing of the announcement that the purpose of the OPM guidance is to facilitate federal employees traveling out-of-state to obtain an abortion,” he said, adding: “It is noticeable, therefore, given the obvious intent of the guidance, that nowhere in the guidance is the phrase ‘reproductive services,’ ‘abortion’ or any other abortion-related language. One is left to believe these phrases were intentionally omitted in this guidance by lawyers in the executive branch to circumvent Congressionally-mandated Hyde protections, which bars federal funds from being used to pay for most abortions.”
As Rubio noted, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to cover the cost of most abortion procedures.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when: “(1) the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest; or (2) the woman suffers from a physical disorder, injury, or illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would place her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, as certified by a physician.”
Rubio continued in his letter, stating: “The Biden Administration’s actions and statements over the last several days are focused on undermining pro-life states and now they are even willing to violate longstanding federal law prohibiting the use of taxpayer monies to fund abortions or abortion services.”
He concluded: “The federal government has no business promoting the killing of unborn children. I demand that the agency clarify that the federal government will not provide sick leave for travel related to abortion services. I look forward to your prompt response and action on this important matter.”
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