Pro-life lawmakers introduced a bill this week to protect American taxpayers from being forced to fund abortions.
The Protecting Life and Taxpayers Act permanently would ban direct funding of abortions as well as funding to groups like Planned Parenthood that provide and promote abortions.
“Like … millions of Americans, I strongly believe our hard-earned tax dollars should never be used to foot the bill for abortion procedures,” said U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a lead sponsor of the bill. “This legislation builds off of our effort to ensure that taxpayers in Iowa, and across the country, are not forced to pay for a practice they passionately object to and which violates their own beliefs.”
Other sponsors include U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi.
Americans do directly and indirectly fund abortions with their tax dollars every year. The Hyde Amendment currently prohibits direct taxpayer-funding of elective abortions through Medicaid, but most Democratic Party leaders now are calling to end it. Currently, 15 states also force taxpayers to fund abortions directly through their state medical assistance programs.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood, which does about 330,000 abortions a year, receives about half a billion tax dollars annually. Though that money is not supposed to be used directly for abortions, it does subsidize the group’s life-destroying practices.
Cramer said their bill would close that loophole and stop subsidizing the abortion industry.
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“Because federal funds pay for other parts of an organization’s operations, more money is available to fund abortion services, thus turning these taxpayer dollars into de-facto subsidy for abortion,” he said. “This bill closes that loophole by prohibiting federal funds not just from being used to pay for abortions, but also from going to any entity that performs abortions.”
According to a press release from Hyde-Smith, the bill would ban federal funds from being provided to any group unless it certifies that it will not perform abortions or financially support an entity that funds abortions. Exceptions would be allowed for abortions in cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life. Hospitals also would be exempted.
“Sixty percent of Americans oppose their tax dollars being used to fund abortions,” Blackburn said. “We should honor their wishes by ending the use of public funds. The pro-life community should not be forced to directly or indirectly fund this abhorrent practice.”
Polls consistently show that the public does not want taxpayer-funded abortions. In 2016, when Hillary Clinton campaigned on taxpayer-funded abortions, a Harvard University poll found that only 36 percent of likely voters supported her position. A January poll by Marist University found similarly strong opposition, with 75 percent saying they oppose taxpayer-funded abortions and 19 percent saying they support it.
Forcing taxpayers to fund abortions is a position of the Democratic Party and all of the major candidates hoping to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.
The Republican senators’ bill is more in line with what most Americans support.
“American taxpayers don’t want their hard-earned money being used to support the abortion industry,” Daines said. “Instead this funding should be redirected to community health centers that provide more comprehensive health care for women.”
Bans on taxpayer-funded abortions also save lives. Researcher Michael J. New estimates the Hyde Amendment has saved about 2 million unborn babies from abortion.
“Second-party groups and organizations that accept federal funding should not be allowed to turn around to support abortion providers. They should abide by the federal ban on using taxpayer dollars to take the lives of unborn children. This bill is intended to ensure they follow the letter of the law,” Hyde-Smith added.
The Susan B. Anthony List supports the bill as well.