U.S. House votes to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 238 to 183 today to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion.
The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (HR 7), introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, makes permanent the so-called Hyde Amendment permanent. Thus far the amendment, which prohibits federal money from being used to fund abortions through Medicaid, has been subject to annual renewal.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates the Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives since it was enacted in 1976.
A January 2017 Marist poll revealed 61% of Americans don’t support using tax dollars to pay for abortions.
The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act also removes abortion funding from Obamacare while legislators consider replacements for Obama's signature healthcare law.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 1,036 of Obamacare plans sold in 2014 included abortion on demand. Other Obamacare plans lack transparency on their abortion funding.
Some Democrats took to the House floor to say that Obamacare doesn't fund abortions, which Smith rebutted with GAO statistics. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-MI, complained that HR 7 is "about going well beyond" the Hyde Amendment. Others defended Planned Parenthood and touted that they had participated in the Women's March on Washington in their speeches against the bill.
Pro-life members of Congress pointed out that the legislation simply makes permanent what is already renewed annually by Congress, and that it allows for transparency on abortion coverage in healthcare plans.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY, blasted those using the "women's march" as a way to imply they speak for all women, noting that pro-life feminists were excluded from it. She plugged Friday's 44th annual March for Life. Rep. Diane Black, R-TN, also noted the hypocrisy of the women's march excluding pro-life women.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, called HR7 a "common-sense measure." Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, said she was "heartsick" to hear her colleagues celebrating the recent anniversary of Roe v. Wade and called them out for labeling abortion "care" instead of "taking life."
The White House released a statement saying, "the Administration strongly supports H.R. 7...if the President were presented with H.R. 7 in its present form, he would sign the bill."
— Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) January 24, 2017
Later during the day's debate, pro-life congressmen focused on the humanity of pre-born children. "We treat them as tumors, warts to be exorcised," Smith said of pre-born children.
"The one voice not heard today is that of the baby," said Rep. Martha Roby, R-AL.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, said that the "real question before us" is "does abortion kill a little baby?" If so, he said, then abortion is the "greatest human genocide" in history.
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO, said "I hate" the Hyde Amendment and predicted HR 7 would fail in the Senate.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, took things one step further by suggesting Trump is writing a "new book" of the Bible, referencing a comment Trump made about the Bible being his "favorite book." Speier compared Trump's actions during his first week in office to those of an evil God, doubting that "he will rest on the seventh day."
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA, used her opposition to HR 7 to complain that Trump's reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy "denies life-saving healthcare to women around the world."
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-SD, said her "hope and dream" for Americans is that they will realize children are a gift from God.
"We need to make these provisions permanent," she said of codifying the Hyde Amendment.