Bill cuts Planned Parenthood funding, preserves conscience rights
It may be the last appropriations bill released this year, but it’s by no means the least! Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) made sure of that. As Chairman of the House subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Rep. Rehberg gave Planned Parenthood and NARAL plenty to complain about when he unveiled his Committee’s spending plan for the next fiscal year. Apart from shaving off billions from the Labor, HHS, and Education Department budgets, the measure also takes direct aim at ObamaCare, its mandates, and abortion. Even the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, home to the Left’s pet media outlets NPR and PBS, would lose the crutch of millions of taxpayer dollars.
To the delight of most taxpayers, Planned Parenthood would be the bill’s biggest casualty. With the blessing of Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), conservatives took an axe to the organization’s federal gravy train—zeroing out every last penny to America’s largest abortion business. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) tried to reinstate the funds in today’s mark-up, but failed 9-5. In fact, under the leadership of Rep. Rehberg, the Committee went the other direction adding a bundle of other pro-life policies. The Chairman also took the opportunity to attach the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) to the broader bill, which would help end discrimination against pro-lifers in the health care industry. If it survives, ANDA would give medical workers legal recourse if they’re sidelined for their pro-life views.
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And speaking of conscience rights, employers might have a fighting chance at protecting theirs after today’s debate. Despite enormous pressure to pull the language, Rep. Rehberg stuck to his guns and included a section that exempts employers who have moral objections to contraception or abortion pills from covering them. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) did her best to strike the policy, but Republicans doubled up the opposition and voted her amendment down 9-5. And they didn’t stop there! The good news spilled over into two other provisions: one blocking the funds for ObamaCare’s implementation and another restoring $20 million for abstinence education grants, which had been all but destroyed when President Obama took office.
Of course, the media is counting out the bill before it even reaches the floor. Help prove them wrong! Contact Republican leaders Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and encourage them to schedule the legislation—and its pro-life, pro-freedom gains—for a vote.
This article originally appeared on the Family Research Council website and is reprinted with permission.
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