Bipartisan Bill to Permanently End Taxpayer-Funded Abortions Introduced in House
August 5, 2010
By Adam Cassandra
A bipartisan bill meant to permanently prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions in every federal program has been introduced in the House, with over 150 original cosponsors, including 16 Democrats.
Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women," Smith said. "This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs."
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service stated in a July 23 report that neither the abortion restrictions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in March, nor the executive order signed by President Obama to prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions, cover the high-risk insurance pools.
The report also states that: "the Hyde Amendment and other abortion funding restrictions that are included in the annual appropriations measures for various federal agencies would not seem to apply to the funds available" for high-risk insurance pools.
The Smith-Lipinski bill does allow for abortions if the pregnancy is a result of forcible rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is endangered. However, the bill codifies a conscience clause that was originally authored by two former congressmen -- the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) and Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) -- to protect health-care providers who do not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, said that the level of support for the bill by representatives who voted for the Affordable Care Act proves that the health-care overhaul does pay for abortions, that President Obama's executive order is insufficient, and that a permanent fix is needed.
"The Smith-Lipinski bill will consolidate and make permanent a string of policies that have attempted to prevent taxpayer-funded abortion despite a pro-abortion agenda being imposed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and America's most pro-abortion president in history," Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Absent from sponsoring the bill are a number of Democrats considered to be pro-life, including the Democratic co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus -- Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.).
Stupak, who is retiring at the end of his term this year, was hailed as a pro-life hero earlier in the year for his initial resistance of the health-care bill over concerns about taxpayer funded abortions. But pro-life groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List, branded Stupak a traitor to the pro-life movement for supportig the bill after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order restricting abortion funding with taxpayer money.
"Not surprisingly, other 'pro-life' Democrats who voted in favor of the health care bill like Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.) and Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) have not co-sponsored the Smith-Lipinski bill," Dannenfelser said. "Poll after poll confirms that the pro-abortion votes of these congressmen and women do not represent the views of their constituents."
Stupak's office did not return repeated calls for comment on this story explaining why the congressman did not cosponsor the bill, or if Rep. Stupak supports the intent of the bill.
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