Battle to De-Fund Abortion, Obamacare Starts Next Week

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2011   |   12:17PM   |   Washington, DC

The battle to stop all federal taxpayer funding of abortions, and to ensure the Obamacare health care reform law does not allow abortion funding, starts in hearings in the House next week.

Two House committees will hear two of the billsthat are the highest items on the priority list for pro-life organizations: the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act sponsored by pro-life Reps. Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski and the Protect Life Act, sponsored by pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts.

The Smith-Lipinski bill would compile all of the annual provisions that prevent federal funding of abortions into one piece of legislation. The beauty of the bill lies in its ability to make what are annual battles to stop abortion funding permanent federal law. When it comes to taxpayer funding of abortions from the federal government, pro-life advocates have to fight several battles annually in Congress to ensure abortions are not funded in programs ranging from HHS and USAID to health care and the District of Columbia.

The Pitts bill would apply the historic Hyde amendment language to the new health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law that allows massive abortion funding. The legislation would afford the same pro-life protections that were approved with bipartisan support in the House last year via the Stupak amendment that didn’t make the final bill.

Stupak, the author of the previous amendment, eventually joined with other pro-life Democrats in voting for the pro-abortion health care bill in exchange for an Obama executive order that pro-life groups say won’t truly ban abortion funding.

Specifically, the Protect Life Act amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prevent federal funding for abortion or abortion coverage through government exchanges, community health centers, or any other program funded or created by PPACA. Additionally, the bill protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals and ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion.

The bills — especially the Smith legislation — have come under considerable attack from abortion advocates and Planned Parenthood. They have based their attacks on the bill on false claims that it would not allow abortion funding for all women who are victims of rape and incest because of changes to the definition of rape under the bill. However, the changed language has been dropped from the bill, neutralizing the issue.

That hasn’t stopped the nation’s biggest abortion business from renewing its campaign today to get calls and emails to House members opposing the Smith-Lipinski bill to ban abortion funding with taxpayer funds.

“Rep. Smith and his extreme anti-choice colleagues have taken their campaign against women’s health and rights to a new low, and they must be stopped. Do your part now. Tell Congress to reject this attack on women’s health,” Planned Parenthood said in an action alert today.

Based on the new videos showing Planned Parenthood aiding and assisting alleged sexual traffickers in getting abortions for underage girls victimized by the sex trade, pro-life groups are upping the ante and urging pro-life advocates to demand that abortions not be funded and that Planned Parenthood be held accountable.

“Planned Parenthood is scrambling to do damage control and still failing to answer charges of illicit activity,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Dannenfelser.  “The organization receives large subsidies from the federal government—the American taxpayer—and now refuses to publicly address these charges.”

“It is unacceptable to answer questions about PPFA’s acts of exploitation of sexually trafficked young girls with:  ‘our training is excellent’ and ‘we called the authorities’ on those exposing the horror.  Equally unsatisfying is ‘we fired her’ when the systemic problem of failing to protect girls with institution-wide controls is well documented,” she said. “We demand that Planned Parenthood answer to the public for this reprehensible activity, without hiding behind a press release.”

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, added, “It is time to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their seedy business practices.”

“For too long, they’ve lived off the American taxpayer with little or no oversight. In the last week alone, we’ve seen proof in Philadelphia that women’s lives were at risk while officials turned a blind eye to what goes on at an abortion clinic. Then we saw video of a Planned Parenthood clinic manager in New Jersey talking about how to manipulate the law to cover up the abuse of underage girls captive in the sex trade.  Today we see video from Virginia of possible misconduct in a Richmond Planned Parenthood clinic,” she said.

Yoest concluded:  “Americans recently demanded that Congress investigate another organization that failed to maintain appropriate oversight of its affiliates. Just as Congress froze funding to ACORN during Congressional investigation of its misuse and embezzlement of federal funds, AULA asks that Congress freeze all federal funding of Planned Parenthood while Congress conducts investigations of Planned Parenthood operating procedures, standards, and operating protocols.”

The bills have the strongest support from House Speaker John Boenher and leading Republicans.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Protect Life Act on Wednesday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. Helen Alvere of George Mason University and Douglas Johnson with National Right to Life will represent the pro-life side while Sarah Rosenbaum of the George Washington University School of Public Health has been invited by abortion advocates.

Reps. Pitts, Burgess, Whitfield, Shimkus, Rogers, Myrick, Blackburn, Gingrey, Latta, McMorris Rodgers, Lance, Cassidy, Guthrie, Barton, and Upton sit on the panel along with Democratic Reps. Pallone, Dingell, Towns, Engel, Capps, Schakowsky, Gonzalez, Baldwin, Ross, Waxman and Weiner.

The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” on Tuesday, February 8 at 4:00 p.m. EST.  Richard Doerflinger with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Cathy Ruse with the Family Research Council will testify for the pro-life side while abortion advocates invited Rosenbaum.

Republican Reps. Franks, Pence, Chabot, Forbes, King and Jordan, all of whom are pro-life, sit on the subcommittee and pro-abortion Democratic Reps. Nadler, Quigley, Conyers, B. Scott sit on it as well.