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House Committee Passes Bill to Completely Ban Taxpayer Funding of Abortions

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/15/14 5:32 PM

National

The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation that will put in place a complete ban on taxpayer funding of abortions that ensures abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department.

The legislation combines several policies that must be enacted every year in Congressional battles and puts them into law where they will not be in jeopardy of being overturned every time Congress changes hands from pro-life lawmakers to those who support abortions.

The bill has been around a few years but has only been approved in the House thanks to a pro-abortion Senate. On May 4, 2011, the House passed HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a 251-175 vote with Republicans voting 235-0 for the bill and Democrats voting 175-16 against it.

The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a hearing on H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” this week.

Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, informed the House that a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former research apparatus of Planned Parenthood, released a study noting that one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when taxpayer dollars were not available to pay for abortions of their children.

The Family Research Council is a strong supporter of the bill and FRC president Tony Perkins applauded Smith’s leadership.

“Chris Smith’s leadership in the cause of life has been historic. Most Americans, regardless of their view on abortion, oppose government funding for abortion. The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ will make sure that the Hyde Amendment applies across the government, including fixing the abortion funding provisions in Obamacare. H.R. 7 will restore government neutrality on abortion,” he told LifeNews.

“Abortion causes enduring pain to millions of American women, and the revelation that so many of them are so young is tragic. Bringing help and healing to America’s young women and their families has to be coupled with public policies that will curtail this victimization,” Perkins noted.

Smith spoke on the House floor during debate over the last version of the bill about what he said was growing public opinion against abortion. He also praised women who regret having terminated their pregnancies and speak out against abortions.

“For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies have prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion,” Smith said. “Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women. This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs.”

A majority of Americans object to the use of taxpayer money for funding abortion, according to numerous polls — including a survey CNN conducted in early April showing Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61% to 35%.

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 the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act 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.”

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.”

Also, before the vote in 2011, the White House said President Barack Obama would add to his lengthy pro-abortion record by vetoing the legislation. Obama would veto HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, with the White House saying the president opposes the bill because it would supposedly make it tougher for women to obtain abortion coverage from private insurance companies thereby expanding the current Hyde Amendment, which only limits tax-funded abortions under Medicaid, beyond its current reach.