House Panel Approves Bill Banning D.C. Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2012   |   5:15PM   |   Washington, DC

House Republicans and Senate Democrats will argue again over whether or not to ban taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia and the first skirmish in that battle was completed today. Last week, Senate Democrats approved an amendment in their version of the funding bill that would allow taxpayer funded abortions in D.C.

House Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2013 Financial Services spending plan for the nation’s capital district and they rebuffed efforts from pro-abortion Democrats to strip the funding ban from the bill.

Rep. Barbara Lee, a pro-abortion California Democrat, authored an amendment to yank the funding ban from the Republican-authored plan, according to a Washington Post report. Ultimately, the panel voted 26 to 21 against Lee’s amendment.

“It marginalizes the city and its residents and blatantly impedes on the District’s ability to self govern,” Lee said. “No other city is told how to spend its locally raised revenue, so why should we force the District?”

Rep Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chairwoman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, told committee members the full House would not approve the bill if the abortion ban was not in place.

“If we want the financial services bill to move forward…and if you want D.C. to be able to spend its local funds on everything else beside abortion, we have to allow it to move forward,” said Emerson.

The ban was put back in place, after President Barack Obama and Democrats removed it following the 2008 elections, when pro-life Speaker John Boehner negotiated a deal with pro-abortion President Barack Obama to keep the ban in place.

The deal pro-life Speaker John Boehner arranged with Democrats in April allowed for a pro-life victory in the reinstatement of the ban on funding abortions in the District of Columbia, saving the lives of hundreds of unborn children annually who may have otherwise become victims of taxpayer-funded abortions.

The DC abortion funding ban Boehner restored put back into place the Dornan amendment to ensure that no Congressionally appropriated funds (whether locally or federally generated) may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia.  When Democrats reinstated abortion funding after taking over both houses of Congress, the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance paid for 117 elective abortions totaling about $62,000.

The policy was in place from 1996-2009. Then, Democrats initially approved an omnibus spending bill lifting the 13-year-long ban on directly paying for abortions in the nation’s capital and Obama eventually signed the measure.

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson wrote to members of Congress at that time urging them to oppose the bill because of the abortion funding in the District of Columbia and said the number of abortions in the nation’s capital would increase by 1,000 annually because of the taxpayer funding.

“The National Right to Life Committee urges you to vote against passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 3288), because the bill would lift a longstanding prohibition on the use of funds appropriated by Congress to pay for elective abortions in the District of Columbia,” the group said in a letter obtained.



“Prior to the initial adoption of the congressional ban, public funds were used to pay for over 4,000 abortions annually in the nation’s capital,” Johnson noted back then. “If the pro-life policy is lifted by enactment of H.R. 3288, public funding of elective abortion will resume, and the predictable result will be that the number of abortions performed will increase, probably by around 1,000 per year.”

Democrats have historically agreed to the language stopping taxpayer funding of abortions, also known as the DC Hyde Amendment.

The Dornan Amendment has even been included in numerous Appropriations bills supported by members on both sides of the abortion debate.  Notably, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who backs abortion, included the DC Abortion Funding ban in his own legislative text twice since Democrats gained control of the Senate in 2007.  President Clinton signed this policy into law six times and President Obama signed the policy into law for FY09 and voted to continue the policy twice while serving in the U.S. Senate.

ACTION: Contact your two U.S. senators and ask them to oppose taxpayer-funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.