On Thursday Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) were scheduled to introduce legislation which would establish a permanent government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion. Pro-life leaders praised the comprehensiveness of the proposal.
The legislation, titled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” also codifies conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in an abortion.
At present, many funding restrictions such as the Hyde Amendment to the Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill must be re-approved by Congress each year. It is also uncertain whether President Barack Obama’s executive order which restricts abortion funds in the 2010 health care legislation will be effective.
In a March interview with Catholic News Agency, Rep. Lipinski had urged action to pass statutory laws to restrict abortion funding in the new health care law.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action, said that the Smith-Lipinski bill will “comprehensively end” taxpayer-funded abortion.
“Congress can act now and fix this problem once and for all, and we are urging our grassroots activists across the nation to contact their representatives and support this sensible legislation,” she commented.
The Family Research Council (FRC) said the bill was particularly important in light of the federal health care law which it believes will fund and subsidize abortion, and also in light of efforts to open military bases to abortion.
FRC Action senior vice president Tom McClusky charged that President Obama and congressional leaders have repeatedly attempted to “eviscerate” agreed limits on federal funding of abortion.
“We applaud Congressman Smith and numerous Members on both sides of the aisle for responding to the concerns of the American people by introducing a measure that applies an abortion funding ban across the federal government,” McClusky commented. “The American people, regardless of their views of abortion's legality, should not be forced to pay for someone's abortion.”
“We applaud all the Democrats and Republicans cosponsoring the Smith abortion funding ban, and urge all Americans to support this commonsense effort to restore government funding neutrality on abortion,” he continued.
A recent memo from the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service found that the health care legislation passed earlier this year did not specifically exclude abortion funding from high-risk insurance pools established by the law.
On Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services issued a new regulation which clearly prohibits the state high-risk pools from covering elective abortions.