By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2009 ( – 183 Congressional representatives have signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding that Congress be allowed a free vote on bipartisan pro-life measures that would truly prohibit government funding of abortion in health care.

The House representatives warn that if they do not have their way, they will do everything in their power to make sure that H.R. 3200 “America's Affordable Health Choices Act” does not even reach the House floor for a vote.

The letter, signed by 25 Democrats and 158 Republicans, requests Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Louise Slaughter, Chairwoman of the Rules Committee, that all House members have an opportunity to vote their consciences – without threat of ramifications from party leaders – on pro-life amendments offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).

One amendment offered by Pitts and Stupak states that “no funds authorized under this Act (or amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion,” although it makes exceptions in the case of danger to the mother's life, or in cases of rape or incest.

In order for these amendments to come to the floor for a vote, the Rules Committee has to give its approval. That will require the cooperation of the pro-abortion Slaughter, who is both Chairwoman of the Rules Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus.

“None of the bills reported out of the three committees of jurisdiction have addressed our serious concerns about public funding for abortion,” the letter states.

The letter takes issue with the Capps Amendment – legislation described by abortion supporters as a pro-life “compromise” measure – which they explain, “actually explicitly authorizes the federal government (Department of Health and Human Services) to directly fund elective abortions, with federal (public) funds drawn on a federal Treasury account.”

“The simple fact is that under the Capps language, the US Treasury will be permitted to issue checks to abortion clinics to reimburse for abortion on demand for the first time in decades.”

The letter also notes that H.R. 3200 explicitly provides that government subsidize private policies that include elective abortion coverage with affordability credits. The legislation violates the spirit of the annually renewed Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the HHS from using taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Instead, the current legislation bypasses the Hyde Amendment and creates new revenue streams that will fund the public option and affordability credits that will be used to subsidize insurance coverage – including those plans that cover elective abortions.

The letter cites the Congressional Research Service as having confirmed that the programs will not need any future appropriations and states that “legislation of this magnitude should include permanent language to ensure that federal funds are not used to support abortion.”

“Real health care is about saving and nurturing life, not about taking life.”

Read the letter here.  

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