Senate Vote Coming This Weekend on Funding Abortions in District of Columbia
by Steven Ertelt
December 11, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate is expected to vote this weekend on an omnibus spending bill that includes a provision overturning a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. The House already voted for the bill, which could increase abortions in Washington by as much as 1,000 a year.
The Dornan Amendment has prevented the federal government from paying for abortions in the District of Columbia, whose budget is overseen by Congress. But the omnibus spending bill, a collection of appropriations bills needed to fund the federal government, includes language overturning it.
House members approved the omnibus bill on a vote of 221-202-1 despite calls from pro-life groups to oppose the legislation because of the taxpayer funding of abortion.
Now, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill this weekend.
Senators approved a motion to proceed to the bill on a 56-43 vote, with just three Democrats joining Republicans to oppose the procedural maneuver.
Now, lawmakers are expected to vote on cloture, to end the pro-life filibuster against the legislation, on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill itself.
Some 35 pro-life Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, have already said they plan to filibuster the bill because of the abortion funding and other Republicans, based on their motion to proceed vote, may oppose the bill or support the filibuster for other reasons.
However, as has been the case with abortion funding in the health care bill, whether they can get any Democrats to join them to successfully block a vote on the bill via a filibuster is another question.
Before the House vote, National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson wrote to members of Congress urging them to oppose the bill because of the abortion funding in the District of Columbia.
"The National Right to Life Committee urges you to vote against passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 3288), because the bill would lift a longstanding prohibition on the use of funds appropriated by Congress to pay for elective abortions in the District of Columbia," the group said in a letter LifeNews.com obtained.
"Prior to the initial adoption of the congressional ban, public funds were used to pay for over 4,000 abortions annually in the nations capital," Johnson notes.
"If the pro-life policy is lifted by enactment of H.R. 3288, public funding of elective abortion will resume, and the predictable result will be that the number of abortions performed will increase, probably by around 1,000 per year," he explains.
Johnson said abortion advocates have used accounting trickery to cover up the abortion funding under the bill.
He said they would "assert that the bill language (found in Division C, Title VIII, Section 814 of H.R. 3288) would only allow the use of ‘local’ funds for abortion, not ‘federal’ funds," he says in the letter.
"In reality, this distinction is entirely contrived an attempt to paper over the fact that the entire budget for the District of Columbia (including locally generated revenues) is appropriated by Congress," he explained.
As a result, all money the District of Columbia spends is federal funds from American taxpayers and opening up abortion funding directly results in taxpayer funding of abortions in Washington.
"NRLC believes that the defense of innocent human life is a matter of sufficient gravity to fully justify" votes against the bill, Johnson concludes.
The letter from DeMint makes clear they are prepared to take full advantage of our rights under Senate rules to prevent massive taxpayer subsidies for abortions and abortion-related activities.
DeMint explains further saying the abortion policy changes are unacceptable and Republicans will use every tool at our disposal to prevent taxpayers from being forced to fund the destruction of innocent life.
Ultimately, that means DeMint and pro-life lawmakers would likely filibuster the omnibus bill in the Senate to ensure the pro-life laws stopping taxpayer funding of abortions or abortion promotion in those instances stay in place.
ACTION: Contact members of the House about the vote for the bill. See how your members voted here.
Also, Contact members of the Senate at 202-224-3121 or https://www.Senate.gov and urge them to oppose the omnibus bill because of the taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.
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