House Panel Pushes Obama Agenda for Tax-Funded Abortions in Washington, DC

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Panel Pushes Obama Agenda for Tax-Funded Abortions in Washington, DC

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 25
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A House subcommittee today pushed forward President Barack Obama’s agenda for funding abortions in the nation’s capital. A panel put into legislation Obama’s request to overturn the Dornan Amendment, which has prohibited taxpayer-funded abortions in Washington for years.

Congress, as authorized by the U.S. Constitution, holds complete legislative authority over the District of Columbia and, therefore, determines whether taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions for poor women there.

Although Congress has banned taxpayer-funded abortions in D.C. for years, the budget request Obama released in May asked, on Appendix page 1209, for Congress to repeal the ban.

Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Governmet marked up the District of Columbia budget and included Obama’s request for tax-funded abortions.

The measure now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee, where it will be considered on Tuesday, July 7. There, pro-life advocates will likely try to offer an amendment to restore the Dornan Amendment and stop Obama’s abortion funding agenda.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, talked with about the vote.

"The House subcommittee has accepted a recommendation from the Obama White House that would, if enacted, result in a restoration of tax-funded abortion on demand in the nation’s capital," he said.

"NRLC is working vigorously against this attempt to repeal the abortion funding ban. Any lawmaker who votes for this bill casts a vote for tax-funded abortion on demand," he added.

One day after pro-life women members of Congress called on the House not to push taxpayer funded abortions in the nation’s capital, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser condemned the plan to do that.

She said her group is "disappointed" that members of the subcommittee "chose to open the door to taxpayer-funding in the District of Columbia today.’

"sense dictates one truism: we won’t find reductions in abortion as long as we continue to subsidize and promote it at taxpayers’ expense," she told "The Obama Administration’s promise to find ways to reduce abortion numbers rings hollow in such an environment."

"Our country is facing an acute economic crisis. Public support for legal abortion is on sharp decline. Expanding taxpayer funding for abortion in our nation’s capital should be the last item on Congress’ agenda," Dannenfelser added.

She called on the full House Appropriations Committee to restore the Dornan Amendment when it considers the bill.

When Obama introduced his budget request for more tax dollars for abortion, Johnson told he thinks it makes it clear that the president has little interest in reducing abortions.

"Some wide-eyed journalists and various political shills for the Obama Administration continue to write fairy tales about how President Obama wants to pursue policies that would reduce abortions," he said. "That is a political scam."

"In reality, President Obama is pursuing a step-by-step strategy to expand access to abortion, and today’s step is to urge Congress to authorize the funding of abortion on demand in the nation’s capital, with funds appropriated by Congress," he said.

Obama’s request will mean more abortions, he said, not fewer.

"If Congress goes along with the Obama proposal, the predictable result will be tax funding of several thousand elective abortions annually, including roughly 1,000 abortions annually that would not otherwise occur," Johnson explained.

Johnson says even pro-abortion groups have published studies showing that bans on taxpayer-funded abortions reduce the number of abortions by about one-third.

"The abortion industry’s own studies suggest that many thousands of residents of the nation’s capital are alive today because of the abortion funding ban that President Obama now proposes to repeal," he said.

From 1988 until 1993, Congress annually included the ban on the use of congressionally appropriated funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.

The ban was rescinded during the early years of the Clinton administration and reinstated in 1996, though Johnson points out that the Washington city government illegally continued to pay for abortions for two subsequent years.

During the congressional debates of that era, evidence was cited that indicated that the city’s abortion-funding policy was among the most permissive in the nation, and was not even limited to Medicaid-eligible clients, Johnson explained.

In fact, in 1994, then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly authorized the use of $1,000,000 from the Medical Charities fund, originally set up to help indigent AIDS patients, to pay for abortions.

ACTION: Contact members of the Appropriations Committee and ask them to restore the Dornan Amendment to stop tax-funded abortions in DC. Find a list of members here.

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