The House on Thursday passed a controversial bill which changes how abortion coverage is handled under federal health care reform. Dubbed the Protect Life Act, it would allow federally-funded hospitals to refuse to perform an abortion and would not require them to transfer the patient to a provider that does.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) said this applies even in cases where a pregnant woman’s life is at risk, saying it “heartlessly puts the preference of hospitals above the lives of women.”

AUDIO: Moore on bill risking lives of women :30

Moore also blasted a provision that would forbid upcoming health care exchanges from providing abortion coverage even under policies paid for entirely by private dollars.

Pro-life groups have contended that abortion’s role in these exchanges would violate the long standing Hyde Amendment which bans federal tax dollars to be used for the procedures. The question of who pays also came from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls).

AUDIO: Sensenbrenner on abortion funding :23

“When the taxpayers are asked to fund abortions that is a whole different issue than whether there should be a right to an abortion.”

The bill passed 251-172 with all Wisconsin Republicans voting in favor, while Democrats from the state voted no. The Democratic-controlled Senate will likely not take up the legislation and the White House has already indicated the President would veto.

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