Democrats Promise to Stop Tax-Funded Abortion Ban in Senate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 7, 2011   |   4:22PM   |   Washington, DC

Members of the House of Representatives are slated to hold hearings this week on two bills that would stop taxpayer funding of abortions. The legislation is expected to clear the House but Democrats promise to block it in the Senate.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, sponsored by pro-life Reps. Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski would compile all of the annual provisions that prevent federal funding of abortions into one piece of legislation. The Protect Life Act, sponsored by pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts, 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 bills are expected to receive committee approval and eventually a positive vote on the House floor, but two Democrats, writing in an op-ed piece sponsored at the web site of the pro-abortion group Emily’s List, say they will do everything possible to hold up the bills in the Senate.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, accuse House Republicans of using a “bait and switch” by telling voters they would work on the economy and then tackling abortion in early legislation — even though removing taxpayer funding of abortions would free up government funds that could be used in better ways.

“You probably recognize the Republican agenda as a radical departure from the days when they promised jobs,” the senators wrote for the pro-abortion group. “And you know their claims of ‘limited government’ shouldn’t include limits on our access to health care.”

Once the bills reach the Senate side, Republicans will have to find 60 votes to bring them to the Senate floor — a tough task — or they may have to add them to other Senate bills as amendments, which could also become a difficult process.

Other pro-abortion groups are also targeting the legislation, with NARAL emailing its members claming the bills would “deny life-saving abortion services to women” — even though abortion poses grave medical and mental health risks for women.

“Congress’ attack on a woman’s right to choose is escalating this week,” the NARAL email alert says. “Anti-choice politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives are holding a hearing on a bill that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care, even when necessary to save a woman’s life.”

However, the legislation allows public funding of abortions in the extremely rare situation where an abortion would somehow be necessary to save the life of the mother.

“This week, we must have the resources necessary to pull out all the stops. Two committees will take up two separate bills that are part of the “Stupak on Steroids” agenda — including the bill that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide emergency abortion care to save a woman’s life. Rep. Joe Pitts, the author of that bill, was hand-picked by the National Right to Life Committee to chair the subcommittee that will vote on one of these bills,” the NARAL email complains. “We’ve been leading the charge to educate lawmakers and to organize progressive organizations to stand together and speak out against the onslaught of anti-choice attacks. But our strength is in our numbers. So please make an urgent gift today.”

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 will be dropped from the bill, neutralizing the issue.

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.”

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.