House Budget Bill May Push Five Pro-Life Policies on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2011   |   11:48AM   |   Washington, DC

The House of Representatives is starting debate on a budget bill that could wind up promoting pro-life policies on five very important issues to the pro-life community.

House Republicans submitted a continuing resolution on Friday that would fund the federal government through 2011 and the resolution contains fixes to three situations where taxpayer dollars go to pay for or promote abortions. The resolution also provides pro-life advocates the opportunity to float two amendments that would de-fund Planned Parenthood and put in place conscience protections for medical workers.

The House will engage in three days of debate on the spending bill that will conclude with a final vote on the measure late Thursday.

From the pro-life perspective, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 1) already fixes three abortion issues, according to a letter the National Right to Life Committee sent members of Congress, that received.

Section 1590 of H.R. 1 would restore the ban on government funding of abortion in the District of Columbia. In late 2009, the Obama Administration succeeded in effectively repealing a longstanding ban on the use of federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.

NRLC says the administration did so “by the subterfuge of creating a legal fiction distinguishing between “Federal” funds and other funds appropriated by Congress to the local administrative government.”

“However, the U.S. Constitution provides that with respect to the Federal district, all legislative authority resides within the Congress,” NRLC explains. “Thus, the local District administration is a government entity that operates exclusively on delegated congressional authority, and exclusively with congressionally appropriated funds.”

A February 8 report in the Washington Post indicates the District of Columbia has resumed abortion funding. The budget bill would restore the abortion funding ban in D.C. and NRLC tells lawmakers that any amendment by abortion advocates to remove the ban from the bill will be strenuously opposed.

The budget bill also restores the Mexico City Policy that President Barack Obama overturned during his first week as president. The policy prohibits the use of federal taxpayer funds from going to groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations.

Not only would the Mexico City Policy be restored under the funding bill, but it would be codified — making it so pro-abortion presidents could no longer take the law off the books and pro-life presidents would not have to undo their decision afterwards.

“NRLC strongly supports this provision, and will score negatively any amendment to remove or weaken it,” the group told House members in its letter.

Thirdly, the Republican budget bill yanks funding for the pro-abortion UNFPA, the United Nations family planning agency that has promoted abortion globally and also worked closely with family planning officials in China who have enforced the nation’s one-child policy with forced abortions and sterilizations, prison sentences, home detention and other human rights abuses.

“Despite disingenuous disclaimers that it does not “provide” abortions, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is, in reality, chief among the multilateral entities that are aggressively seeking to undermine protections for unborn children throughout the developing world,” NRLC says. “In addition, the UNFPA has for decades been a cheerleader for, and an active participant in, China’s ruthless birth-quota system, which relies heavily upon involuntary abortion.”

Section 2122 of HR 1, which also covers the Mexico City Policy, includes the rollback of UNFPA funds — blocking any additional taxpayer dollars from going to the UNFPA. There is some concern pro-abortion activists in the House would float an amendment to remove that section from the legislation.

Meanwhile, two pro-life amendments are expected to be offered to the bill — including one from Congressman Mike Pence that would deny federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates since it is the largest abortion business in the nation.

“PPFA is the nation’s largest abortion provider, reporting 324,008 abortions in 2008. It appears that abortion accounts for roughly one-third of the aggregate income generated by PPFA-affiliated clinics. According to press reports, PPFA has recently mandated that all of its regional affiliates must provide abortions by the end of 2013,” NRLC says. “Recent media reports regarding abuses associated with PPFA-affiliated clinics in multiple states provide an additional justification for the amendment.”

Congressman John Fleming will offer a second pro-life amendment that would prevent the expenditure of federal funds to rescind or modify the conscience-protecting regulations the Bush administration put in place for pro-life medical workers.

“Obama Administration has published a notice (74 FR 10207) that it intends to rescind a Bush Administration regulation (73 FR 78072, 45 CFR Part 88), which provides remedies for health care providers who are penalized for refusing to participate in providing abortions,” NRLC said, adding that it supports the Fleming amendment.