The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on legislation that would ban taxpayer funding of abortions through all federal governmental departments and programs. But one pro-life group says the legislation does more than that.
The bill will also mitigate concerns about abortion funding in the various loopholes in the Obamacare national health care bill that various pro-life organizations warned about during debate on the law. The legislation did not contain language banning funding of abortions in its provisions and HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, that the House will consider Wednesday, would fix that problem.
The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to House members urging support for the legislation that explains how the bill will help:
Regrettably, however, the 111th Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). During consideration of that legislation, language was proposed (the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) to apply the principles of the Hyde Amendment to the multitude of programs created by the bill, and the House initially approved that language – but no such provision was part of the enacted law, due to opposition from President Obama and the Senate majority. Consequently, the enacted PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing funding of abortion and funding of health plans that cover abortion.
H.R. 3 would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent, government-wide basis, applicable to both longstanding federal health programs and to the new programs created by the PPACA. A Member’s vote on H.R. 3 will essentially define his or her position, for or against federal funding of abortion, for the foreseeable future. NRLC will include the vote on final passage of H.R. 3 in our scorecard of key right-to-life votes of the 112th Congress.
NRLC also reacted to the veto threat the White House issued about the bill.
Certainly, the veto threat on H.R. 3 issued by the White House yesterday provides additional graphic evidence that President Obama is opposed to meaningful statutory limitations on federal funding of abortion – notwithstanding his past attempts to obfuscate this issue.
The National Right to Life letter also commented on another lesser-known provision of the tax-funded abortion ban — it’s language to protect health care professionals who don’t want to be involved in abortions.
The bill would codify the principles of the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which has been appended to the original Hyde Amendment on every Health and Human Services appropriations bill since 2004. This provision would solidify important protections for health care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions – which is especially important in light of the Obama Administration’s February 23, 2011 action rescinding the conscience protection regulation issued by the Bush Administration.