Second House Committee OKs Ban on Taxpayer Funded Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2011   |   5:21PM   |   Washington, DC

A second U.S. House committee has approved legislation to institute a government-wide ban on any direct taxpayer funding of abortions in any federal departments or programs.

The beauty of the bill is that it makes the ban federal law and pro-life lawmakers don’t have to find annual battles to renew several pro-life provisions covering various programs where taxpayer funding of abortions could take place.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee, in a vote of 22 to 14, gave approval today to H.R. 1232, the companion bill to the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Rep. Dave Camp’s bill makes technical changes to the tax provision in H.R. 3, the main bill from Rep. Chris Smith that bans abortion funding.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded to the vote and told LifeNews the pro-life organization “applauds the committee for moving forward with the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ which will restore government neutrality on the question of taxpayer funding for abortion.”

“Americans should not be forced to pay for abortions, especially at a time when our country is facing an economic meltdown brought on by a failure to stop the out-of-control spending in Washington. Now is the time for Congress to finally restore government neutrality to the question of abortion funding and also applying the long-standing principles of the Hyde Amendment to our tax laws,” he said.

Perkins added, “This legislation will ensure that not only will abortion funding be removed from Obamacare and the District of Columbia, but that the tax credits under Obamacare and tax incentives in current law will no longer create a government incentive to pay for abortions. Both the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ and Rep. Camp’s bill will ensure that taxpayers are not spending the estimated $72 billion in the next nine years to pay for the abortion coverage of others.”

He said Camp’s bill was necessary to ensure “that people can still purchase health insurance with abortion and pay for abortion, just not with direct tax incentives. The IRS does not allow cosmetic surgery to be deducted as a tax preferred medical expense, and it should no longer do so for abortion.”

“We commend the pro-life leadership of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) for introducing this essential bill, and thank Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) for shepherding it through the process,” Perkins said. “We are encouraged that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) have made the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ a priority, and encourage them to bring these bills quickly to a vote.”

Weeks ago, the House Judiciary Committee approved the main bill on a mostly partisan 23-14 vote. The committee also removed a provision concerning forcible rape that abortion advocates had used to misconstrue the intent of the legislation.

The legislation had 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.

The party-line vote saw Republicans on the panel supporting the measure and Democrats on the committee voting against it, with the exception of Puerto Rico Del. Pedro Pierluisi.

Although the House is expected to sign off on the pro-life legislation, the Senate will present problems since pro-abortion Democrats control the chamber. Pro-life senators may have to attempt to attach the language of the bill to another measure and would likely have to find 60 votes to cut off debate and end what would be a potential filibuster from abortion advocates.