House Votes Wednesday on Banning Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2011   |   10:39AM   |   Washington, DC

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday on legislation that would ban federal taxpayer funding of abortions throughout the federal government in all agencies and programs.

The measure is expected to receive approval in the Republican-controlled House, but it’s fate in the Democrat-controlled Senate is far from certain. There, pro-life Republican lawmakers will likely have a hard time getting pro-abortion Democrats to bring up the measure and may have to attack the legislation to another bill in order to get a vote on it.

The House Rules Committee has announced that it will be meeting on Tuesday to formulate the rules for debate on the legislation, HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has confirmed with that the vote will indeed take place on the full House floor on Wednesday.

A majority of Americans object to the use of taxpayer money for funding abortion, according to numerous polls — including a survey CNN conducted in early April showing Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61% to 35%.

Several pro-life groups are working to generate calls and emails to House members in advance of the vote and they are strongly endorsing the legislation.

“For over three decades Congress has had to enact annual provisions to make certain the American people are not funding abortions through the ever shifting avenues available in the tax code, state run insurance exchanges, tax-preferred health accounts and government grants,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told LifeNews. “H.R. 3 would permanently codify and apply these prohibitions government wide. This action would place the burden on the pro-abortion side to justify why Americans should pay for abortion when they don’t believe that their money should be used for this heinous procedure.”

“The Obama administration has tried to muddle the message when it comes to ObamaCare’s coverage of abortion and his Administration’s support of taxpayer funding of abortion on demand,” he continued. “H.R. 3 sends the message that Americans are tired of these games: No taxpayer money for abortion, not here, not now, not ever. It is long past time that taxpayers get out of the abortion business.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, added, “This Wednesday, Congress will vote on the pro-life No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL). This bill would make several life-saving pro-life amendments permanent law to help get taxpayers out of the abortion industry.”

“The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which already has an incredible 227 bipartisan co-sponsors, would make all the important pro-life “riders”—like the Hyde Amendment—permanent law. Currently, these riders must be voted on each and every Congress to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to fund elective abortions,” Dannenfelser said. “The Hyde Amendment alone, which prevents taxpayer funding of abortion in Medicaid, saves over 130,000 lives a year.”

In February, 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 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.

At the end of March, a second House committee voted 22 to 14 to give approval to a companion bill to the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” HR 3, thereby setting up a vote on the House floor.

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson says the bill is a critical priority for pro-life advocates to avoid losing bans on taxpayer funding of abortion in certain circumstances every time Congress changes hands. Recently, Speaker John Boehner had to negotiate a budget deal with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to get the ban on tax-funded abortions reinstated in the District of Columbia. If Mayor Vincent Gray follows through on implementing the ban, it could save the lives of hundreds of unborn children who were aborted with Obama and Democrats took the ban off the books last year.

“For over 30 years, Congress has conducted debates on federal funding of abortion nearly every year, during consideration of annual appropriations bills,” Johnson said. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3) would settle the issue, by permanently prohibiting funding of abortion in any federal program.”

“The bill would make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented federal funding of elective abortion in the Medicaid program since 1976,” Johnson added. “By conservative estimate, more than one million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment.  If the principles of the Hyde amendment are applied in permanent, government-wide fashion, the lifesaving effects we have already seen will be multiplied.”

ACTION: Contact members of the House to support the taxpayer funding of abortion ban at