House Republicans took steps this week to prevent the Biden administration from using tax dollars to help women travel to abort their unborn babies.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-South Carolina, and more than two dozen other lawmakers introduced the No Federal Funds for Abortion Travel Expenses Act to ensure that tax dollars are used to support life, not destroy it, Fox News reports.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that Senate Democrats and the Biden administration are doing everything they can to fund abortions in this post-Roe world,” Norman said in a statement. “Using federal funds for this purpose is sickening.”
His legislation would prohibit federal tax dollars from being used for “financial or logistical support for travel to another state or country” to abort an unborn baby. It would add additional protections to the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing federal measure that prohibits taxpayer funding for most abortions in Medicaid and other government programs.
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Since June when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 15 states have enacted laws that strictly limit or ban the killing of unborn babies in abortions. These laws are saving approximately 139,296 unborn babies from being aborted, according to SBA Pro-Life America, and more states could enforce pro-life laws in the coming months.
However, the Biden administration and pro-abortion Democrat leaders have been trying to thwart these states’ life-saving efforts, including through legislation and an executive order to permit taxpayer funding for abortion travel.
Recently, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, proposed a $350 million Abortion Travel Fund as part of a Senate appropriations bill. Murray’s plan would provide money for women in pro-life states to travel to pro-abortion states to abort their unborn babies.
Polls consistently show that Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions, and Norman said most Democrat lawmakers used to stand with the American people on the issue.
“Remember, many Democrats including our president used to be of the opinion that abortions should only happen in rare circumstances,” he said. “My Republican colleagues and I will put our foot down every time the federal government attempts to step in on the matter of the right to life.”
On Aug. 3, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to explore ways to “advance access” to abortion by using Medicaid funds to help women travel to other states for abortions.
Nina Owcharenko Schaefer, the director of the Center for Health and Welfare Policy at The Heritage Foundation, said paying for abortion travel would violate the Hyde Amendment, but the Biden administration may use special authority granted to the HHS secretary to try to get around it.
In a column at the Daily Signal, Schaefer explained:
For over 45 years, the Hyde Amendment rider to the Department of Labor-Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations Act prohibiting federal funding of abortions applies to all programs funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, including Medicaid. And if the federal government is prohibited from paying for the service, it cannot pay for transportation costs to get to the service either.
Despite this clear prohibition, under the executive order, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, will likely be pressed to see how far the secretary of Health and Human Services can use his authority under Section 1115 demonstrations to waive certain provisions of the law to achieve the order’s goals.
Polls consistently show a strong majority of Americans, including many Democrats, support protections for unborn babies from abortion – especially after the first trimester. Most Americans also oppose their tax dollars being used for elective abortions.