Yesterday, just one day after the House voted for a bill banning taxpayer funding of abortions across all governmental programs and departments, pro-life groups and lawmakers are pushing for a Senate version.
Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, on Thursday introduced a companion to the bill the House approved, but he acknowledged it’s “unlikely” that there are 60 votes for the pro-life bill in the Senate because Republicans would have to overcome a filibuster from Senate Democrats. Still, he said he would push for the legislation anyway and might possible offer it as a rider to another bill at some point in the future.
However, Wicker said he didn’t think he would seek to attach the abortion funding ban to the upcoming vote on the bill to raise the debt limit, telling The Hill any potential amendments “will deal with financial matters, rather than this.”
“Every time we’ve attempted to advance the pro-life cause through legislation it has always started out as an uphill battle,” the senator said. “It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get to 60 votes. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”
“For three decades, Congress has enacted annual provisions in appropriations bills to make certain American taxpayers are not funding abortions, but it is time for a single, government-wide prohibition on abortion funding,” Wicker said. “This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for abortion in all federal programs. Americans overwhelmingly agree that tax dollars should not be used to support abortion providers. I will continue to advocate legislation that honors and protects human life.”
“This comprehensive approach will eliminate the need for separate abortion funding policies and ensure that no federal program is exempt from this prohibition,” he explained. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act will ensure once-and-for-all that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund abortions. This legislation is simple and straightforward and would to establish in law what most Americans believe – taxpayer dollars should not be used for abortion.”
Wicker also said a vote on the bill would give pro-life advocates a chance to replace lawmakers who support forcing taxpayers to fund abortions.
“Elections have consequences,” Wicker said. “We wouldn’t be here without the November 2010 election. I think this is among the very important issues that the American people will be called upon to look at in the 2012 election.”
Despite the uphill battle in the Senate, pro-life groups are also pushing hard for adoption of the legislation.
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America told LifeNews in an email she was proud of the House for taking “the first step to end government funding for abortion when it passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act by a vote of 251-175. Sixteen Democrats voted for this legislation and not a single Republican opposed it.”
“Now it’s time for Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to bring this legislation up for a vote in the Senate. Please call your senators today and urge them to ask Senator Reid to take the next step towards ending government funding for abortion,” she said.
“The No Taxpayer for Abortion Act is a comprehensive approach that eliminates the patchwork of current pro-life policies that must be renewed annually. It simply ensures that Americans, many of them opposed on moral or religious grounds to abortion, are not forced to subsidize abortion with their tax dollars,” Nance added.
On the other side, pro-abortion groups are also trying to drum up calls and emails to members of the Senate urging them to oppose the bill.
“Now that this bill has passed the House, we must ensure that it never sees the light of day in the Senate,” said Nancy Keenan of NARAL. “We now have six more anti-choice senators than we did when we fought the original Stupak abortion-coverage ban in health-care reform last year. With only 40 pro-choice votes out of 100 in the Senate, it is critical that we work closely with our pro-choice allies and educate mixed-choice lawmakers about this extreme measure.”
The House passed HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a 251-175 vote with Republicans voting 235-0 for the bill and Democrats voting 175-16 against it.
Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, informed the House that a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former research apparatus of Planned Parenthood, released a study noting that one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when taxpayer dollars were not available to pay for abortions of their children.
“For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies have prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion,” Smith said. “Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women. This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs.”
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%.