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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a symbolic gesture to coincide with the annual March for Life this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has slated legislation to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi took to the Senate floor to make the case for the latest version of his No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, the Daily Journal reports. Sens. Roy Blunt, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, James Lankford, and Pat Roberts are among its GOP cosponsors.
While most direct abortion funding is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment, it requires annual re-approval in the budget process and fails to account for subsidies to groups like Planned Parenthood. Such subsidies indirectly support their abortion activities. Wicker’s bill would impose a permanent, comprehensive ban on abortion funding, block tax dollars from financing abortions through Obamacare insurance plans, and enhance disclosure requirements for plans on the exchange that cover abortion.
“As each year passes, as more and more parents see that sonogram…we see the feet, and we see the heartbeat,” Wicker declared. “We see the faces of these children. We realize as Americans…that this is a living human that deserves protection.”
Later in the day, McConnell filed cloture on a motion to proceed on the bill, leading to a cloture vote presumably either Thursday or Friday.
Social conservative groups hailed the move, with Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser claiming the “Senate is showing they’ll be a brick wall when it comes to trying to force taxpayers to pay for abortion on demand,” while Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said his group “applaud[s] Leader McConnell and Senator Wicker for moving forward” with the bill.
The vote will not lead to the law taking effect, however, as Democrats now control the House of Representatives and Senate Republicans currently lack the 60 votes needed to overcome a cloture vote, after which a simple-majority could pass the bill itself.
It is possible, albeit time-consuming, to circumvent the 60-vote threshold by forcing the minority party to engage in a literal filibuster and enforce the “two-speech rule” limiting the number of times individual Democrats can speak, but for years McConnell has been unwilling to revise the filibuster rules in any way.
With control of Congress divided for the next two years, pro-lifers have largely resigned themselves to a national agenda of confirming originalist judges in the Senate and promoting pro-life executive actions for the time being, while many hope the proliferation of heartbeat laws in the states will eventually force the Supreme Court to revisit and overturn Roe v. Wade.