Pro-Lifers: Vote Against Repeal Equals Abortion Funding OK

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2011   |   12:26PM   |   Washington, DC

When members of the House of Representatives vote on a bill to repeal the Obamacare health care law, a vote against repeal will be seen by pro-life advocates as a vote to support abortion funding. 
Because the Obamacare legislation contained insufficient limits on taxpayer funding of abortions, pro-life organizations are strongly supporting the repeal effort and groups like the Susan B. Anthony List say they will inform their members about the votes.

In addition to the repeal vote, House members will also vote on a resolution to instruct Congressional committees to draft replacement legislation, and the instruction includes a requirement that any replacement law must contain  “provisions that … prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers.”

“Anybody who votes against repeal is saying there’s no problem regarding abortion in the bill,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of SBA List, told The Hill. “When you know you’ve got a chance to do the right thing, you don’t put it off.”

She said pro-life Americans were so upset by the vote for Obamcare and the abortion funding it contained that her group and others successfully “made abortion funding the defining issue in the elections,” and adding that the abortion funding the bill allows is the “most egregious issue” voters have with it.

The National Right to Life Committee, in a letter to House members earlier this month, urged a yes vote on repeal.

“As enacted, the PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion, and additional provisions on which future abortion-expanding regulatory mandates may be based,” the pro-life group tells lawmakers.

Although legislation exists to remove the abortion funding concerns from the law, NRLC says rationing and other concerns are so problematic that repealing Obamacare is the only way to legitimately fix them.

“The law is so riddled with provisions that violate right-to-life principles that it cannot simply be patched. It must be repealed, and any replacement legislation must contain all necessary safeguards for the right to life of the most vulnerable members of the human family,” the letter concludes.

After the repeal bill is passed, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has said Republicans would work on dismantling ObamaCare piece by piece with bills unrelated to the abortion issue but also legislation that would implement a ban on any taxpayer funding of abortions under the law and protecting the conscience rights of medical professionals who don’t want to participate in abortions.

“We are going to take up early the Pitts-Stupak language ‘no funds shall be spent on abortion’ as a separate bill early on. We will look at these individual pieces to see if we can’t have the thing crumble,” he said.

Getting the  repeal bill through the Senate will be difficult as pro-abortion Senate Leader Harry Reid and pro-abortion Democrats control the chamber and will not likely bring up the legislation for a vote. That means Republicans will have to try to attach the repeal legislation to another bill or use filibuster tactics to force a vote in the Senate.

Upton told the Fox News program he thinks a strong vote count — with a potential veto-proof majority — will “put enormous pressure on the Senate to do the same thing.”

The House of Representatives took its first step last week in repealing the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill that pro-life groups strongly oppose.

On a 236-181 vote, Republicans approved the rules for debate for the legislation they will vote on next week to repeal the government takeover of health care. Four Democrats (Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina and Mike Ross of Arkansas) joined Republicans in supporting the rule while two Republicans voted present and 15 lawmakers of both parties did not vote.

The vote also paves the way for axing the abortion funding from ObamaCare.

The rule also provides for consideration of H. Res. 9, which instructs relevant House Committees to replace Obamacare with legislation that achieves certain goals including to “prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers.”

When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.

Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.

However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.

Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses.

The exchange doesn’t go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.