The Hill: On Roe anniversary, abortion protesters target healthcare law

This article originally appeared online at The Hill on January 24, 2011.

On Roe anniversary, abortion protesters target healthcare law
By Julian Pecquet

Anti-abortion activists should watch the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday and judge him on his stated commitment to ban taxpayer funding for abortion, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in her “State of the Unborn” message Monday.

The message comes as more than 40,000 anti-abortion rights activists prepare to march in the nation’s capital to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. The Obama administration says its healthcare reform law prevents taxpayer-funded abortions, but House Republicans disagree and have introduced three bills that have SBA’s support.

“Watch that State of the Union message,” Dannenfelser said. “See if the president decides to follow up on his promise [to ban taxpayer-funded abortions] because right now if the moment, a moment in time which we have not seen since 1973, where we have the momentum.”

“It’s time for us to flex the muscle that we just flexed in this election and do everything we can in this Congress to protect human lives,” she said.

The first GOP bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, seeks to establish a permanent, governmentwide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion and for healthcare plans that cover abortion. It would make permanent the so-called Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding but currently must be reintroduced every year.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, is a priority for the GOP. It will be numbered H.R. 3, coming right after the healthcare reform repeal bill that passed the House last week.

Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) has also introduced the Protect Life Act, which seeks to rewrite provisions of the healthcare reform law to ensure it does not allow for taxpayer funding of abortion. The bill is modeled after an amendment to the House reform bill introduced by former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that didn’t make it into the final law.

Finally, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) has a bill that seeks to ensure that tax dollars are not sent to abortion providers under Title X family planning grants.

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