The House of Representatives yesterday approved legislation that will put in place a complete ban on taxpayer funding of abortions that ensures abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department. The White House says President Obama would veto it.
The legislation combines several policies that must be enacted every year in Congressional battles and puts them into law where they will not be in jeopardy of being overturned every time Congress changes hands from pro-life lawmakers to those who support abortions.
According to the Washington Times, the president would issue a veto if the measure is somehow approved in the Senate or attached to legislation the Senate passes.
As a controversial bill banning federal abortion funding heads to the House floor this week, the Obama administration is threatening a veto if it reaches the president’s desk.
The measure, known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” would not only extend the longstanding ban on taxpayer-funded abortions, but go further and restrict Obamacare subsidies for those who purchase health-insurance plans covering abortions.
Supporters argue the legislation is needed to maintain the long-accepted principle that taxpayer money should not fund abortions, while critics allege the bill is simply another GOP attempt to thwart the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“The legislation would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care. … Longstanding federal policy prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered,” reads a statement of administration policy released Monday night. “This prohibition is maintained in the Affordable Care Act. … [The bill] would go well beyond these safeguards by interfering with consumers’ private health care choices.”
The statement goes on to say that the president’s senior advisers would recommend he veto the bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican.
Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, spoke on the House floor during debate and said it would help hold President Barack Obama accountable by ensuring no taxpayer funds are used to pay for abortions.
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%.
The bill will also mitigate concerns about abortion funding in the various loopholes in the Obamacare national health care bill that various pro-life organizations warned about during debate on the law. The legislation did not contain language banning funding of abortions in its provisions and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would fix that problem.
The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to House members urging support for the legislation that explains how the bill will help:
“Regrettably, however, the 111th Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). During consideration of that legislation, language was proposed (the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) to apply the principles of the Hyde Amendment to the multitude of programs created by the bill, and the House initially approved that language – but no such provision was part of the enacted law, due to opposition from President Obama and the Senate majority. Consequently, the enacted PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing funding of abortion and funding of health plans that cover abortion.”
The National Right to Life letter also commented on another lesser-known provision of the tax-funded abortion ban — it’s language to protect health care professionals who don’t want to be involved in abortions.
“The bill would codify the principles of the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which has been appended to the original Hyde Amendment on every Health and Human Services appropriations bill since 2004. This provision would solidify important protections for health care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions – which is especially important in light of the Obama Administration’s February 23, 2011 action rescinding the conscience protection regulation issued by the Bush Administration.”
A new Kaiser Foundation study found that 6.1 million women will gain elective abortion coverage under Obamacare through the Medicaid expansion and new federal premium subsidies. H.R. 7 would essentially codify the executive order used in 2009 by President Obama to secure the final votes needed from pro-life Democrats in order to pass the health care overhaul.
The pro-life group CatholicVote also supports the bill as do many other pro-life groups including Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, Liberty Counsel and Family Research Council.
“This critically important legislation is called the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” Brian Burch of CatholicVote said. “This legislation has been updated to deal with the horrible expansion of abortion that began with the implementation of Obamacare. The House is ready to lead. If they pass this bill, the pressure will be on Senate Democrats up for election this year in red states like Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.”