Pro-Life Champion Joe Pitts to Head Key ObamaCare Panel

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2010   |   8:11PM   |   Washington, DC

When it comes to abortion and taxpayer funding of it, Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania is the one of the big pro-life champions on Capital Hill.

Now he will have the opportunity to head a key subcommittee that will have jurisdiction over efforts to repeal the ObamaCare law or, at minimum, de-fund the law or the abortion funding it allows.

While pro-life advocates were disappointed by the news that Rep. Fred Upton, who has a weak pro-life voting record, will head the full House and Energy Committee that will tackle ObamaCare and other abortion issues, they were delighted by the news on Pitts.

“We need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. We need to protect human life from the unborn to the elderly,” Pitts said this afternoon.

“The American people want Congress to find solutions to our healthcare challenges that are market-based, Constitutional, and won’t bankrupt the Treasury,” said Congressman Pitts. “I look forward to working with Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Chairman Upton, and all of my colleagues to get this done. ”

He will likely, following a full House Republican caucus vote on Wednesday, head up the health subcommittee where any ObamaCare and abortion funding battles will originate.

John Boehner, the incoming Speaker, and members of the House Steering Committee named Pitts to become the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee — which is good news for Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, who told the appointment is a “major pro-life victory.”

That’s because the panel is “the gateway for legislation that embodies almost every pro-life protection America has consistently affirmed in polls and elections.”

“We look forward to working with Rep. Joe Pitts, newly elected Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, and the rest of the committee to pass meaningful laws that save lives and protect the conscience of taxpayers in the next Congress,” she added.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said he talked with Upton and told the congressman is committed to supporting bills to de-fund abortion and the abortion industry. Those are the measures Dannenfelser said her group would continue pushing, with Pitts’ help.

“This goal can be accomplished by pushing through committee the two centerpieces of our Stop Abortion Funding campaign, the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski, and the ‘Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act’ sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence,” she said.

“Taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill played a major role in races across the country, resulting in a net gain of over 50 pro-life votes in the House and a 70 percent increase in the number of pro-life women. Congress has been sent clear marching orders from the American people to defund abortion now. The appointment of Rep. Joe Pitts as Health Subcommittee Chair is an encouraging start,” she added.

The “Stop Abortion Funding” online petition the SBA list is sponsoring, launched shortly after the November election, surpassed 35,000 signatures in its first month.