Time for Consistent Abortion Funding Policy
President Obama stood before Congress on September 9, 2009 and said:
“And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
He knew at that time what he was saying to Congress and to the American people was false. The Protect Life Act and the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 are working to fix the problems in President Obama’s health care law.
However, the reason Congress was forced to deal with those issues in the first place is because the United States lacks a consistent, coherent policy when it comes to federal tax dollars being used for abortion.
Congressman Chris Smith (R, NJ-04), Co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, took action by introducing the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” on Thursday, July 29, 2010. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” was re-introduced on January 20, 2011 and classified as H.R. 3 by Speaker John Boehner (R, OH-08), meaning it is a top priority for the new House leadership.
In a letter to his colleagues asking them to become an original co-sponsor of the legislation, Congressman Smith wrote:
“For over 30 years, a patchwork of policies has regulated federal funding for abortion. Together these various policies ensure that the American taxpayer is not involved in funding the destruction of innocent human life through abortion on demand.”
The reason this legislation is needed goes beyond last year’s passage of the health care law. As Congressman Smith states:
“Most of the existing federal policies are limitation amendments attached to annual appropriations bills (sometimes referred to as riders), which have to be reapproved every year. This ‘as needed’ approach usually results in a debate over abortion funding anytime Congress considers health-related legislation.”
This new legislation establishes a consistent government-wide prohibition on abortion funding. Under current law, funding for abortion and abortion coverage is prohibited through a patchwork of policies, most of which must be annually reapproved in Appropriations bills. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” will reduce the need for numerous separate abortion funding policies and ensure that no program or agency is exempt.
Policies that would be made permanent under Congressman Smith’s legislation include:
- Hyde amendment (related to programs funded through the annual Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations)
- Helms amendment (concerning overseas programs)
- Smith FEHBP amendment (concerning coverage for federal employees)
- Dornan amendment (regarding funding in Washington DC)
- Other policies governing programs such as the Peace Corp and federal prisons.
- Codifies the conscience clause known as Hyde-Weldon.
There is no doubt that when this legislation is on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, the abortion lobby will push the throttle of opposition all the way down.
The Catholic Advocate community needs to be heard on this important effort to protect the sanctity of human life and prevent our tax dollars to be used to further a culture of death.
Visit the Catholic Advocate Action Center to IMMEDIATELY send a letter to your Member of Congress encouraging them to support the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”
By Matt Smith, Vice President of Catholic Advocate
Click here to read our January 2011 press release on the legislation.