WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to ban federal funds for teaching abortion techniques to medical students at public health centers.
The House voted 234-182 for the amendment proposed by pro-life U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). Thirteen Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill, while ten Republicans voted with Democrats against it. (See roll call here)
Foxx’s amendment (HR 1216) changes a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which had created a line of direct funding for qualified teaching health centers (including Title X “family planning” clinics) to establish or expand programs for medical residents.
The bill instead makes the centers dependent on annual appropriations from Congress, and requires that the funds allotted for qualified teaching health centers not be used to subsidize “abortion or training in the provision of abortions.”
Nancy Keenan of NARAL blasted the bill as “an unprecedented restriction on medical training” that “would limit drastically doctors’ ability to receive comprehensive and necessary instruction in reproductive-health care.”
Foxx’s amendment also states that the funds cannot be disbursed to any teaching health center that discriminates against any pro-life health care worker or entity on the basis that they refuse to “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.”
“My amendment is designed to protect life, and the livelihoods of those who defend it,” Foxx said on the House floor during Tuesday’s debate.
Foxx added that her amendment supports the majority of U.S. taxpayers opposed to public funding of abortion and seeks “to ensure that their hard-earned money does not go to organizations that promote abortion or discriminate against pro-life health care providers.”
She said that unlike the Hyde amendment, which must be annually renewed, her bill “ends the uncertainty on this program” by providing a permanent ban on funding elective abortion, and protecting pro-life health care providers.
“The reaction of Planned Parenthood and NARAL to the Foxx Amendment makes it crystal clear that they want the federal taxpayer to fund training of the next generation of abortionists,” said Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee. “In fact, pro-abortion activists are also trying to make it impossible to become certified in and to practice in some medical fields without participating in providing abortions. Stronger federal anti-discrimination laws are needed to counter these efforts, especially since the Obama Administration has severely weakened enforcement of the existing protective laws.”
The amendment now heads before the U.S. Senate for consideration.