This article orginally appeared online at The Daily Caller on May 4, 2011.
Bill to ban federal abortion funding up for a vote
By Caroline May
Pro-lifers are mounting an aggressive offensive supporting the passage of a bi-partisan bill to establish a permanent prohibition on federal funding for abortions.
The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” (H.R. 3) introduced in January by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith and Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski and boasting 227 co-sponsors is expected to come up for a vote in the House Wednesday.
“For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies have prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion,” Smith said. “Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women. This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs.”
The bill would codify the disparate funding bans into one umbrella protection – as currently such policies are imposed via amendments to yearly appropriations bills and have to be re-approved in the process.
“The American people gave this Congress marching orders to end taxpayer funding of abortion,” said pro-life leader Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “By bringing H.R. 3 to the floor, House Republican leadership is sending the American people the message that it is serious about protecting unborn children, women and taxpayers from the horror of abortion.”
Smith explained that a full ban is imperative, especially as the vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortions.
“The comprehensive approach eliminates the need for the numerous funding protections and limitations approved every year and ensures that no program or agency is exempt from this important safeguard,” he said. “According to every reputable poll, large majorities of Americans want no complicity whatsoever in paying for abortion.”
The effort not surprisingly has met stiff opposition from pro-abortion groups such as Emily’s List and the National Organization for Women, which has dubbed the bill the “Woman-Hating Abortion Rights” bill.
“One of several dangerous pieces of legislation in this 112th Congress, H.R.3 would permanently reinforce a ban on federal funding for abortion care and levy ideological tax penalties on millions of families and businesses — effectively parceling out women’s constitutional rights on the basis of ability to pay, with racist as well as sexist outcomes,” wrote NOW in an action alert.
The CEO of the conservative Concerned Women for America, Penny Nance, however, urged Congress to pass the measure and warned Obama about vetoing the measure.
“The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act is non-partisan. Nearly 70 percent of Americans, pro-life and pro-choice, don’t want their dollars going to pay for abortion,” said Nance. “If President Obama vetoes this legislation, he will be stomping on the freedoms we hold dear in this country and making every one of us complicit in abortion, a moral abhorrence for over half of the population.”
Nance’s comments were in stark opposition to the president of Medical Students for Choice, Megan Evans who voiced outrage at the measure in a recent blog posting at Emily’s List.
“I am shocked and stunned by the recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights,” Evans wrote. “I believe, like many of my collegues, that all women deserve access to a full range of reproductive health services no matter their income, insurance status, ethnicity, or background. Cong. Chris Smith and his colleagues do not feel the same way.”
Like most of their sister groups, the Family Research Council has sent out action alerts, urging their followers to support the H.R. 3 effort.
“The Obama administration has tried to muddle the message when it comes to ObamaCare’s coverage of abortion and his Administration’s support of taxpayer funding of abortion on demand,” they wrote in a recent alert. “H.R. 3 sends the message that Americans are tired of these games: No taxpayer money for abortion, not here, not now, not ever! It is long past time that taxpayers get out of the abortion business.”
Tuesday pro-life women in Congress sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to members pleading for support.