Leading pro-life organizations have quickly put together their wish list for the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
They want the pro-life leaders who are expected to run the Congressional chamber to take up a bill that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions across the board with respect to all federal government departments and programs.
The legislation would have the effect of stopping the abortion funding the ObamaCare health care reform bill fails to prohibit.
The bill in question is the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, the chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
It essentially combines all of the many different provisions pro-life advocates have pressed for in numerous bills covering various federal agencies and programs stopping abortion funding that have to be renewed annually and makes them permanent federal law.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, talked with LifeNews.com about the need for the measure and political hurdles it faces.
“In just two years, President Obama and his allies in Congress have established multiple new pipelines to subsidize abortion and abortion providers. These setbacks underscore the urgent need for enactment of a permanent, government-wide ban on federal funding of abortion — a ban that would endure no matter who is in the White House,” he said.
The House is expected to take up the measure, which Republican leaders put in their Pledge With America, but, after an expected passage in the House, the fate of the legislation is in the hands of Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, and both support abortion funding at taxpayer expense.
“We are heartened that the incoming House majority leadership is committed to enactment of that legislation,” Johnson explained, “but we expect to meet stiff resistance from the White House and the Democratic Senate leadership.”
The Smith bill is also a priority for the Susan B. Anthony List, which has launched a new campaign specifically devoted to passing it.
The “Stop Abortion Funding” campaign includes a website for pro-life activists to lobby Congress and will include other grassroots-motivating efforts as potential votes in the House and Senate come closer.
“Now is the time to translate Tuesday’s pro-life electoral gains into pro-life legislative victories,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“On Tuesday, large numbers of Representatives learned the consequences of their vote for taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill when they were thrown out of office by the constituents they betrayed,” she told LifeNews.com. “Those Members have been replaced by authentic pro-life voices supported by a strongly pro-life GOP leadership.”
She said pro-life Republicans will have to put their money where their mouth is on the bill.
“The GOP leadership understands the urgency of addressing the tragedy of nearly 4,000 abortions a day and has pledged to defund abortion in its ‘Pledge to America.’ Now is the time to make good on that Pledge to restore moral and fiscal responsibility in Washington,” Dannenfelser said. “Congress must start by ending federal funding of abortion both here and abroad.”
SBA List is also urging members of the House to take up and pass the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, sponsored by pro-life Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, which would ensure tax dollars are not sent to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood under Title X family planning funds.
“With the majority of Americans labeling themselves pro-life and an even stronger majority agreeing that tax dollars should not fund abortion, the consensus for passage of pro-life legislation could not be stronger,” Dannenfelser said. “The Stop Abortion Funding campaign will echo the message sent from the ballot box that Americans are ready to pass life-saving laws.”
Under current law, funding for abortion and abortion coverage is prohibited through a patchwork of policies, most of which must be annually reapproved in Appropriations bills. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” will reduce the need for numerous separate abortion funding policies and ensure that no program or agency is exempt from this important safeguard.
The bill essentially could be called a Hyde Amendment Plus, as it wraps together the Hyde Amendment, related to programs funded through the HHS appropriations, along with the Helms amendment, which applies to overseas programs, the Smith FEHBP amendment to stop abortion funding in federal employee health insurance programs, the Dornan amendment prohibiting abortion funding in the District of Columbia, and other policies governing programs such as the Peace Corp and federal prisons.
The beauty of the new bill is also seen in the fact that it will make these policies banning abortion funding in various situations permanent federal law instead of annual battles that pro-life advocates sometimes lose depending on who controls Congress and the White House. [related]
Only an act of Congress to reverse the law would reinstate the abortion funding.
The new comprehensive abortion funding ban will also apply to the new national health care program President Barack Obama signed into law.
And it would codify the conscience clause known as Hyde-Weldon offering protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortions — something Smith told his fellow members of Congress is important.