September 15, 2017
House approves appropriations bill with numerous pro-life provisions
Many new pro-life provisions were included in HR 3354, in addition to longstanding riders, including the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion in Health and Human Services appropriations, and numerous others.
National Right to Life issued a scorecard warning letter on two amendments where the right to life position ultimately prevailed. The first, the Norton Amendment, was attempting to restore the so-called “budget autonomy” law enacted by local officials of the District of Columbia. National Right to Life sent a letter to the House urging them to vote against the Norton Amendment.
The Norton amendment would have allowed District officials to hijack over $8 billion annually in funds that the Constitution and the Home Rule Act place under congressional authority, opening the door to use of these funds to pay for elective abortions or other illicit purposes.
The second amendment where the pro-life position prevailed related to reversing the so-called “Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act” (RHNDA), a local law enacted by the District Council in 2014. RHNDA could be used to force pro-life, as well as other religious advocacy groups to make personnel decisions that are inconsistent with their sincerely held beliefs about the sanctity of human life.
The Palmer Amendment was adopted on the House floor today by a vote of 214-194. 212 Republicans and two Democrats–Rep. Lipinski (IL.) and Rep. Peterson MN–voted for the Palmer amendment.
Voting against were 183 Democrats and 11 Republicans–Rep. Coffman (Co), Rep. Costello (Pa), Rep. Curbelo (Fl), Rep. Dent(Pa), Rep. Fitzpatrick(Pa), Rep. Katko (NY), Rep. McSally (Az), Rep. Meehan(Pa), Rep. Poliquin(Me), Rep. Reed(NY), and Rep. Stefanik) voted against.
Twenty-five Members did not vote.
In addition, there is a new provision based on the Conscience Protection Act. The Conscience Protection Act would prohibit any level of government from mandating that health care providers participate in abortion. That would protect doctors, nurses, hospitals, and health plans (and employers who purchase the plans).
Most importantly, the language in the Conscience Protection Act empowers those who are affected by abortion mandates to file private lawsuits in federal courts – without the need for intervention by the pro-abortion activists who draw paychecks at the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Another new provision would prevent federal funding for fetal tissue research from induced abortion.
Additionally, there is a provision to defund abortion providers receiving large Federal grants, including Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Another provision eliminates funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, wherein Planned Parenthood receives a large sum of money in most states.
An additional provision added by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) would nullify DC’s dangerous and recently enacted assisted suicide law, euphemistically labeled, “The D.C. Death With Dignity Act.”
While we can expect that many of these prolife provisions will not ultimately become law, the bill serves as a strong prolife starting point and is the result of the hard work of a Congress that values life!
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