WASHINGTON -- A spending bill in Congress could allow the District of Columbia to use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.
The measure passed in the House, Thursday, by a 219-208 vote and is now headed to the Senate.
If the bill is passed, critics say it could lead to an increase in the already alarming rate of abortions in Washington, D.C. Currently, 41 percent of pregnancies in the capital end in abortion, which is twice the national average.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life says this new willingness to fund abortions defies what the public wants.
"This president keeps talking about finding common ground on abortion, and yet, if there's one thing Americans agree on, it's that they don't want their tax dollars going to fund abortion, whether they consider themselves pro-life or pro-choice," she said.
The spending bill was passed without allowing Republicans or pro-life Democrats to vote on reversing the abortion measure.
Yoest believes Democrats are taking such a bold stance because they know the Obama administration is backing them.
"We see a clear pattern here," she said. "Whether it's overseas or it's in the District of Columbia, this administration is increasing funding to abortion."
The bill also includes other initiatives like legalizing marijuana and phasing out D.C.'s school voucher program.
*Originally published July 17, 2009