WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Representative Richard Hanna, R-NY, was the only Republican to vote against H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” when it passed the House yesterday. That vote, the last in a long line of pro-abortion votes, has drawn a reaction from state activists.
“Does Hanna still have a 'R' behind his name?” asked self-described “taxpaying Catholic” and New York State conservative activist Judy Pepenella. “I am not surprised by his vote, [except] he represents a district that is strong on family values. I hope his constituents hold him accountable.”
Hanna has publicly stood against the pro-life majority in the House on multiple occasions. He opposed an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, and was one of two Republicans who opposed a bill that would allow doctors and hospitals to turn away women seeking an abortion. In June 2013, he opposed a ban on most late-term abortions that passed the House.
Six Democrats joined 221 Republicans in voting for H.R. 7. Georgia Republican Paul Broun voted “present” on the legislation. The bill, which is unlikely to pass in the Senate, permanently codified a number of annually approved laws, most prominently the Hyde Amendment, to prevent nearly all federal funding of abortion.
First elected in 2010, Hanna lost the backing of the influential Conservative Party of New York in his re-election campaign in 2012. State Party Chairman Michael Long told LifeSiteNews.com that “the Conservative Party of New York is very supportive of the pro-life movement, and therefore does not believe citizens' tax money should go to pay for abortions. His vote on H.R. 7 is a clear example of why he does not have our endorsement.”
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Hanna is near the bottom of Heritage Action's rankings of Republicans, with a 48 percent rating. In addition to supporting abortion, Hanna has not cosponsored the House Defund Obamacare Act of 2013, and voted for numerous bills that increase federal spending. The National Right to Life Committee gave him a 33 percent rating earlier this month, while Planned Parenthood Action Fund gave him a 71 percent ranking.
On his website, Hanna defended his vote, saying that while he “[has] always supported and will continue to support the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits spending federal dollars on elective abortion through appropriations bills,” H.R. 7 went “beyond the Hyde Amendment to create financial penalties, red tape and paperwork requirements.”
“These are new government barriers for small businesses and individuals who would choose to provide their employees or themselves with health plans that include abortion coverage,” continued Hanna's statement. “I continue to oppose spending federal tax dollars on abortion, but this legislation goes too far in finding new ways to insert government influence into personal and employer health care decisions best left to families and consumers.”
Hanna's vote comes less than a week after the Republican National Committee (RNC) urged candidates and all other Republicans to stand for life. Between 40 and 60 members of the RNC attended last week's March for Life, including Chairman Rience Priebus.
Hanna's office did not immediately return a request for comment.