Bill Banning Tax-Funded Abortions Attacked Over Rape Issues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 31, 2011   |   12:27PM   |   Washington, DC

Leading pro-abortion activists are using the issue of rape as a method of attacking a new bill in Congress that would ban taxpayer funding of abortions across all governmental programs and agencies.

The measure, which is a number one priority for pro-life groups, would roll into one permanent law all of the many provisions and riders attached to the various bills funding the federal government that are passed each year. Instead of having to fight numerous battles – which don’t always result in pro-life victories – every year with new members of Congress, the bill would ensure federal taxpayer funds don’t pay for abortions in programs ranging from health insurance for federal employees to abortions in the District of Columbia to health programs at Indian reservations.

With a strong majority of Americans opposing taxpayer funding of abortions in polling data covering the last few decades, the pro-abortion movement is working to find a way to attack the bill on an issue that will get it leverage to derail the legislation. They appear to have found their issue:  claiming the legislation women victimized by rape.

Under current federal law, taxpayer funding of abortion is stopped in the various provisions that are currently in force – such as the Hyde amendment – except in cases or rape or incest. Instead of using the current rape exception language now on the books, the bill changes the law to cover abortions in cases of “forcible rape.”

Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, a pro-life Democrat who is the co-sponsor of the bill with pro-life Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, sent a statement to The Raw Story web site, saying there was never any intent to hurt rape victims.

“The Hyde Amendment allows for taxpayer funding of abortion in very limited cases, including if the pregnancy is the result of rape. The language of H.R. 3 was not intended to change existing law regarding taxpayer funding for abortion in cases of rape, nor is it expected that it would do so. Nonetheless, the legislative process will provide an opportunity to clarify this should such a need exist,” he said.

Because the term is undefined, pro-abortion activists wanting taxpayers to be forced to fund abortions have seized the language and claimed sponsors of the bill want to hurt women who have been raped.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, says the bill is “one of the most extreme bills that we’ve seen.” adding that it is “basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape.”

The pro-abortion Daily Kos blog goes further – where writer Dante Atkins said he can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want their tax dollars going to pay for abortions and attacked pro-life advocates supporting the bill for completing the “transition to American Taliban.”

“It’s the type of thing that really makes you wonder what’s wrong with people. Is it any wonder that women tend to vote for Democrats? The GOP thinks that unless you were hogtied or had a knife brandished at you, you deserve whatever you get. Why not just put women in a burqa, assign them a male relative as an escort, and be done with it?” he wrote.

House Speaker John Boehner and a bipartisan group of pro-life members of Congress held a press conference earlier this month to officially launch the campaign for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and other pro-life bills. 

Smith said his bill will “eliminate the need for numerous, separate, annual abortion funding prohibitions (riders) and ensure that no other program or agency is exempt from this important safeguard. The bill also codifies the conscience clause known as Hyde-Weldon.” Smith said President Barack Obama has called for abortions to be rare and noted that the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former arm of Planned Parenthood, has noted that taxpayer funding of abortions increases the number of abortions done annually.

Boehner said, “Today we’re here to talk about keeping another commitment to the people – and that is ensuring their tax dollars are never used to fund abortions.”

“A ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land.  But current law – particularly as enforced by this Administration – does not reflect the will of the people,” he added. “This common-sense legislation reflects the will of the people and deserves the support of the House.  It is one of our highest legislative priorities.  As such, I have directed that it receive the designation of H.R. 3.  I appreciate Congressman Smith’s steadfast leadership on this critical issue.”

The National Right to Life Committee told afterwards that it strongly supports the legislation.

“Public opinion is strongly against federal subsidies for abortion, and any member of Congress who is truly opposed to federal funding of abortion will vote for both of these bills,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  “If President Obama seeks to obstruct these bills, that will provide additional glaring evidence that his professions of opposition to public funding of abortion are phony.”