- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
- In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream
- Ukraine PM vows to find ‘bastards’ behind anti-Semitic fliers
- Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
House bills aim to defund abortion
Critics call it ‘unprecedented’
Abortion providers are the targets of a trio of House bills that seek to ensure that taxpayer dollars will not find their way into such coffers.
“The time has come to deny any and all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, said at a Feb. 10 press conference about his Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.
A second pro-life bill blocks federal funds from paying for abortions, even indirectly, under the new health care law, and a third measure codifies the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, into law.
All three of the bills are bipartisan, thanks to a handful of House Democrats as co-sponsors.
The timing of these bills reflect the ascendancy of the pro-life movement, said one supporter.
“All the polls show that this is pro-life America now,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in her first annual State of the Unborn video address. The pro-life movement is in “a moment in time which we have not seen since 1973, where we have the momentum.”
However, House Democrats and their allies who support abortion rights are vociferous in their criticism of these bills.
H.R. 3 “is an unprecedented attack” on women, families, their rights under the Constitution and private insurance, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, said a recent House subcommittee hearing on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, introduced by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and 209 co-sponsors.
The Hyde Amendment is “deeply unjust,” and the Smith bill will only further reduce access to “medically necessary emergency abortions,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women.
The bill to prevent abortions in the health care law — the Protect Life Act, led by Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican — “would amount to a middle-class abortion ban,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Women will lose “private health care benefits they have today — benefits they pay for themselves or their employers provide them,” she warned.
The Smith and Pitts bills allow abortions under specific circumstances, such as rape, incest and endangerment of the health of the woman, and strengthen “conscience” clauses so pro-life health care workers do not have to assist with abortions.
The conscience issue is likely to gain importance in the wake of a Feb. 18 decision by the Obama administration to tighten a Bush-era conscience policy so it only covers abortion and sterilization. Pro-life opponents protested the change, saying health care workers could be forced to assist with other morally objectionable services, such as “emergency contraception.”
To date, though, the Pence bill has drawn the most attention, as it would disallow federal family-planning funding to any entity that performs abortions or indirectly supports abortions.
Planned Parenthood is assumed to be the target of the bill, as it is the largest recipient of Title X funds and is the largest abortion provider.
Some 100 abortion-rights supporters in the House have signed a letter calling the Pence bill “a significant threat to women’s health” because it would dismantle a national network of health clinics that offer 3 million Americans health screenings, contraceptive services and immunizations.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Judge voids N. Dakota's 'heartbeat' abortion law
- Family, agency in custody battle over sick daughter
- Values group wins court round over use of gay marriage photo
- Gay-photo lawsuit partially dismissed
- Some gay activists fear same-sex supporters are becoming intolerant
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.