Congressional Committee Defeats Another Attempt to Limit Abortion in Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — After defeating one pro-life amendment Thursday night and adopting a phony ban on abortion funding, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday afternoon defeated another amendment to limit abortion in the House health care restructuring bill.
Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, would ensure taxpayer dollars do not pay for abortions or subsidize health insurance plans that include abortion.
"We want an explicit exclusion in the bill to prevent any taxpayer funding from paying for abortions," Pitts told his colleagues. "Anything else is wrong, and contrary to overwhelming popular opinion.
Though Pitts received support from most Republicans and a handful of pro-life Democrats, he could not gather enough votes to overcome the pro-abortion Democrats who control the committee.
The panel voted 31-27 against the amendment.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said the rejection of the amendment "underscores that H.R. 3200 would drastically change federal policy, channeling massive new federal subsidies to health plans that pay for abortion on demand, including a national plan that will be offered by the federal government."
Johnson told LifeNews.com that pro-life Americans need to pull out all the stops during the Congressional recess to let their members of the House know that they oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
"This is ‘Condition Red’ for the pro-life movement. Every pro-life American should communicate, loudly and clearly, his or her opposition to this Obama-backed bill, before it comes to the floor in early September," Johnson said.
Before the vote on the Pitts amendment today, the House panel approved a phony compromise amendment to the health care legislation it is considering.
The Capps amendment, sponsored by an abortion advocate, gave the impression that it would stop tax-funded abortions in the health care bill but, in reality, would allow it.
This is a phony compromise, and we were expecting it. The amendment would still allow for taxpayer funding to pay for plans that cover abortion. This is a fig leaf, designed to lure votes from Members who want cover on the issue," Pitts said about the vote on the Capps amendment.
"Capps has an amendment that is being held up as a pro-life compromise, but the amendment would fail to continue the longstanding principle that taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions, directly or indirectly, over the objections of millions of pro-life Americans," he added.
The committee also defeated a pro-life amendment Thursday night that would stop any mandate for abortion coverage. The hearing saw Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon change his vote, allowing for its defeat.
ACTION: Click here to see how your members of the House Energy and Commerce committee voted on the Pitts amendment and let them know your thoughts about their votes. If your member of the House is not a member of the committee, contact your representative and urge strong opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion. Call 202-224-3121 or see https://www.House.gov
Note: Rep. Skimkus voted no in order to change his vote and allow for a reconsideration of the amendment later after persuading another colleague to vote pro-life. Shimkus is a long-time pro-life lawmaker.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.