Pro-Lifers Stop Senate Democrats Bid to Tax-Fund Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2011   |   1:29PM   |   Washington, DC

Senate Democrats have been stopped in their efforts to promote taxpayer funding of abortions and pro-abortion groups through the minibus bill the Senate was considering to fund various portions of the federal government.

Yesterday, an attempt by Senate Democrat leaders to fast-track a government funding bill with pro-abortion provisions ran into a procedural wall erected by a group of pro-life senators working in concert with the National Right to Life Committee. Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid, an abortion backer, attempted to move to the Senate floor the “minibus” bill combining three different appropriations bills. The bills contained seven different abortion funding and pro-abortion provisions NRLC and pro-life groups opposed.

Among other offensive provisions were sections that would have removed an existing ban on government funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, removed a longstanding ban on coverage of abortion in federal employees’ health plans, and earmarked $40 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which promotes abortion and works hand-in-hand with population control officials in China enforcing the nation’s one-child policy.

The minibus bill also contained a provision authored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) that would have prevented any future president from curbing funding of pro-abortion organizations overseas by re-implementing the Mexico City that President Barack Obama overturned during his first week in office.

Senate rules do not allow appropriations bills to be combined in the way that Reid attempted, except by “unanimous consent,” meaning that each senator had the right to object and prevent the combination bill from advancing.  Such “unanimous consent” has been achieved in the past, for other multi-bills that did not contain pro-abortion provisions. However, yesterday, pro-life Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, took to the Senate floor to deny Reid the “unanimous consent” he requested.

Vitter was joined by other pro-life senators, including Republican Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah.

“National Right to Life commends Senators DeMint, Vitter, Paul, Lee, and their allies for courageously derailing the Abortion Express Train,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

Because of the successful strategy pursued by NRLC, specific amendments dealing with the various abortion-related issues, which LifeNews reported on, will not be needed this week. Johnson warned, however, that there are likely to be further attempts by the Senate Democratic leadership to attach pro-abortion provisions to various funding bills for the rest of the year.

“We’ll be keeping a hawk-like gaze on all of these appropriations bills,” Johnson said.