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Anti-Abortion Bills Crowding Onto U.S. House Agenda

3 years ago
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In a year when fixing the economy is expected to dominate debate on Capitol Hill, abortion -- an issue that won't go away -- is crowding onto the Republican agenda.

Two bills -- one permanently barring taxpayer funding of abortions and the other forbidding federally financed abortion coverage under the new health care law -- got hearings this week in the House. And they riled up activists on both sides of the debate.

Emotions came to the fore Tuesday at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. It attempts to write into permanent law the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions through Medicaid or any other federal program. The Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually.

That bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would also re-impose a ban on government funding of abortion in Washington D.C. That provision brought out about a dozen red-bandana-wearing activists protesting what they saw as an infringement on the city's right to self-govern. They made their point and left the Capitol Hill hearing room without incident.

A supporter of the bill, Kelly Fiedorek, told the Washington Post that consideration of anti-abortion legislation is consistent with a focus on jobs. "We are in a financial crisis," said Fiedorek, a staff attorney for Americans United for Life, "so this ensures that federal taxpayer funds are going to things that are important to the American people and not to something like abortion."

The second bill in play would amend the health care reform law to ensure that it does not permit abortion coverage. Advocates for the law have argued that it already rules out using any federal money for abortions. President Obama even signed an executive order reiterating the restriction. But many Republicans insist that provisions of the law could subsidize abortion providers and they campaigned on the issue last fall.

The measure, set for a hearing Wednesday in an Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, has bipartisan sponsorship in Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) It also would prevent the government from denying funding to hospitals or other institutions that don't want to provide abotions.

Action on the abortion bills comes as no great surprise, as House Speaker John Boehner is anti-abortion and promised to be the "most pro-life speaker ever." Boehner may well have enough votes to get both bills through the GOP-controlled House.

Even so, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, questioned, "What happened to the jobs agenda?" when the legislation was introduced last month. "How many people will be employed as part of their campaign to attack a woman's right to choose?"

On Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken was one of a half-dozen Democratic senators objecting to the House bills. "Supporting a woman's right to make decisions about her health means ensuring that women can access the full range of reproductive health care services safely and with dignity," he said in a statement.

Sen. Barbara Boxer said, "We are sending a clear message to House Republicans that their agenda on women's health is extreme, it breaks faith with a decades-long bipartisan compromise and it risks the health and lives of women."

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Crystal L.

I think some people are very confused in responding to this article. This article states they want to ensure that taxpayers are not the ones that are funding abortions for women who choose to have them. This article has nothing to do with whether or a not a woman should be allowed to have an abortion for all those that didn't bother reading it.

As a Pro-Choice supporter, a woman, and a single mother; I believe any girl or woman should have the right to choose, but I do not believe for a second that tax payers should pay for it. We do not expect people to have personal responsibility for their actions, including our kids because of the "self-esteem damage" we may inflict from hurting their feelings. If a woman becomes pregnant regardless of the reason, let her make a decision on what she needs to do. However, do not think I will be willing to pay for her to fix her mistake regardless of whether or not she continues or terminates her pregnancy.

We all know that a man's reproductive organ and a woman's reproductive opening (best way to describe without saying the words) are involved in creating a child. If you can't comprehend or know how kids are made, keep the two apart until you find an educated professional to tell you.

February 10 2011 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rodrockler

Stop abortion, where does it end?
These very same people want also to defund (proclaimed) 'entitlement programs' that help single mothers with their children. For those women who have unwanted pregnancies forced upon them, how are they to take proper care of them?
Working to pay a babysitter, hospital bills, rent, utilities and whatever else any woman would have to pay in order to support the child is a terrific burden...especially if that child is not planned...ie rape, incest.

Keep your personal views on abortions to yourself and let those who have hard enough choices to make alone to do so.

No MAN has the right to impose any law or discrimination upon a woman's reproductive abilities or to deny them health care in any way!

*** A woman's body is not commerce and therefor neither congress nor the states can regulate. ***

February 10 2011 at 7:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Karen

I thought the Republicans were going to focus on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Are they creating jobs for morality police squads?

February 09 2011 at 10:29 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
truthforfreedom

The two bills are about funding for abortion. Republicans aren't saying women can't make the choice to have an abortion. I'm a citizen of the U.S., born, raised and have paid taxes and been forced into paying for many things for many people, I don't want to pay for the abortion of someone else too.

That's not being a morality policeman.

February 10 2011 at 8:24 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
wgdisk

This is not going to help create any jobs. In fact it will eliminate jobs.

February 09 2011 at 10:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
hello

Do any of you know how much of your tax dollars are going for abortions? 1/10th of a penny. The Republicans want to limit abortions for women that were date raped or girls who were molested by relatives. They want to re-define the word rape. They think that a woman who was date raped was not "really raped". Are you all going to tell a 15 year old girl she has to carry the fetus of her brother/son to full term because you don't want to spend a 1/10th of one penny? Really? We spend so much more on unnecessary war toys. How many billion dollar stealth planes does our military really need? I thought we won the Cold War.

February 09 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hello's comment
frnj969

I don't want even a tenth of one of my pennies funding the murder of innocents.

February 09 2011 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Crystal L.

It would be interesting to see where your facts came from since I had not heard before that abortions cost so little. However, I was also able to find some facts myself.

"The National Coalition of Abortion providers estimates that the average cost of an abortion performed in the first trimester is around $350, while the average cost of a second trimester abortion grows to about $2,500."

"The research group Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) estimated that the total annual cost of all abortions performed in the United States is around $980 million."

"Planned Parenthood, for example, receives about $270 million annually from government funded grants."

"Government aid for abortion procedures aside, there is still the issue of government funding for the teaching of abortion procedures. It has been estimated that 12 percent of the OB/GYN residency programs in the United States train in first-trimester abortions, and an even smaller percentage, only 7 percent, train their residents in second-trimester abortions."

According to the facts I was able to find, it appears that more than 1/10th of a cent is spent on abortion. I am an avid Pro-Choice supporter, but I don't believe any tax payer money should be able to get everyone an abortion who wants one.

Addressing your concern about girls impregnated by incest, I would advise you that when they enter state custody as they clearly should; that they are not only covered by state insurance at that point, but that if they remain in custody of the state until they become of legal age, they also go to school and get a living stipend each semester for free which is supported by your tax dollars as well.

February 10 2011 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rogurak

This is coming from the group that wants government out of our
personal lives.

February 09 2011 at 9:47 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rogurak's comment
Carnahans

I so agree with you...they obviously want gov in our bedrooms.

I challenge each and every middle and high income CONSERVATIVE who is against abortion rights and birth control education to step up and ADOPT several unwanted kids each...there are lots of minority children to adopt, crack babies, fetal ahlcohol babies and all kinds of other special needs kids.....

Oh yes I forgot...they are holding out for the blonde blue-eyed babies.....after all...we want the baby off to a healthy, good start.....

February 10 2011 at 12:05 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
mstrtpst

are you kidding me? we - as a government and country - are not wanting to fund abortions with the tax payers money, but we are willing to pay the cost of prenatal care, childhood care, foster care, state-funded/federally funded subsidies, etc because we don't want to pay for abortions? WHAT IS THIS COUNTRY THINKING!?!?!?!

February 09 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mstrtpst's comment
ricer2jz

But here's the thing, our tax dollars are NOT even going towards funding abortions. If you want to look at this from a neutral position, this would just be one less thing to raise taxes over. We'd STILL be paying for all those other things, no matter what. So why pay for one more thing when there's a simple solution to lowering birth rates (abstinence). It won't drop the birth rates to zero, but it would significantly lower those rates.

February 09 2011 at 9:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
tracer2524

Since men are unable to become pregnant they should recuse themselves from making important decisions regarding a womans right to have or not have an abortion.

February 09 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Layne

It's already looking like 2006 & 2008...The do nothing republican Congress, again?

February 09 2011 at 9:08 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Layne's comment
Relevant Data

What? Its looking nothing like 2006 & 2008. Back then when the Republicans controlled the Congress and Executive branches, unemployment was very low. The economy was rarely mentioned back in those days. The want ads were full of jobs in the newspapers. The economy and housing both went to the tank after the Democrats were voted into full control of Congress and then made worse then the current Democrat was voted President two years later.

February 09 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
Layne

Now you can see the fruits of GOP policy....The record downturn of the economy and jobs started in 2007. I understand you republicans wanting to believe that history began in January of 2009, but that is factually just not true...So the GOP returns to it's recent roots of restricting the freedoms of all who don't agree with them by using government to do so, yet claiming to want government out of our lives. The amount of hypocicy from the right is staggering. Abortion is just a distraction for their totally in the pocket policies for corperate America. They don't much care about you and me. They have shown it over and over again....Where are the bills for job creation that thet promised in the election? Not 1 is being proposed in the GOP HOUSE.

February 09 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
md123art

When God gives the power for a man to be pregnant, then man can make decisions regarding his pregnancy and his body. It is a woman who must make decisions regarding a pregnancy and her body. When rape and domestic assault occurs, a woman must be allowed to decide in a pregnancy due to violence. If science provides information of developmental problems with a fetus, a woman must make decisions regarding the continuance of the pregnancy and of that lifetime commitment. The act of sex can carry a possibility of creation. Until any of this responsibility is equal to both sexes, the woman should be the only one to have the right of decision regarding abortion, her body, and of her actions regarding all responsibility of pregnancy.

February 09 2011 at 9:00 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

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