House approves bill that would permanently restrict abortion funding
May 4th, 2011
06:11 PM ET
12 years ago

House approves bill that would permanently restrict abortion funding

Washington (CNN) - House Republicans overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to pass a bill permanently prohibiting federal funding of abortion, addressing one of their chief social objectives.

"Forcing taxpayers to pay for the indiscriminate killing of helpless little baby Americans is not good government and it should be ended once and for all," said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona.

The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" passed 251 to 175. Sixteen Democrats voted with Republicans to pass the measure. The Senate is not expected to take up the legislation, making the vote largely symbolic.

Congress already prohibits the federal funding of abortions in the Hyde Amendment, an annual ban Congress has passed each year since 1976. Supporters say the bill would simply make that prohibition permanent.

But opponents charge the bill would go much further. The federal government would no longer subsidize any health care plans which covered abortion, a move some Democrats say would force small businesses to change health care providers or lose their tax credits. Women who paid out-of-pocket for an abortion would not be able to write off the medical expense on their taxes.

Exceptions would still apply in the case of rape or incest and if the mother's life is in danger - though only if that danger were caused by the pregnancy. The bill also outlines a so-called "conscience clause" which would allow hospitals or physicians to refuse to perform an abortion on moral grounds.

The restrictions in this bill would also apply to abortions performed in the District of Columbia, even if they were covered by city funds.

Republicans underlined polls showing a majority of Americans do not support federally-funded abortions, and said the bill merely codifies the provisions of the so-called Hyde Amendment and makes them permanent.

"[This bill] is pro-life, pro-family and it is pro-taxpayer," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. "It's a responsible step to ensuring a long-standing precedent Republicans and Democrats have supported for decades."

Democrats said the bill would severely restrict women's reproductive freedoms, arguing the measure would effectively raise taxes on women who choose to pay for abortions with private funds, and eliminate tax breaks for some small businesses which provide their employees with health care.

"This bill is going nowhere in the Senate," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Michigan. "Where it can go is everywhere in interfering with a person's access to health care or with the use of their own money for their own purposes as they choose."

Filed under: Abortion • Congress • House Republicans
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. A disgusted former Republican

    If republicans oppose killing babies, why do they approve of indescriminate bombing in many place around the world? They relish bombing in Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, Libya, and many other places. Sounds a little hypocritical to me; what do you think?

    May 4, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Sgt Joe

    Can't wait to get the Republican trolls back out of Congress in 2012. We are much wiser now; and way more P.O.'d than during the 2010 debacle. What does this have to do with job creation, I'd like to know?

    May 4, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. Jake

    and luckily we have sane and in-touch people in the Senate that will NOT allow this to pass!

    May 4, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Veitnam Vet.

    The republicans on their hypocritical horse again, "keep goverment out of my business except when it comes to abortion", except when it applies to health care for the babies after they are born" except when it comes to determining what health procedure a woman should have' except when it comes to trying to tax big oil and the rich". Oh and by the way we will get back to the jobs thingy after the 2012 election. They are under the illuson that the majority of Americans will fall for this smoke and mirror hoax again, A rude awaking is before them!!

    May 4, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. FBMarky

    Just one more diversionary tactic for the idiots on the republican side. How is this creating jobs? How is this fixing the economy? How is this stopping the THREE wars we're involved with? They know very well this bill is a waste of time. It will never get past the senate and the president will never sign it. They're only wasting time – and taxpayer money – because they don't have any real solutions for the real problems facing our country. All they care about is scoring a mention on faux news network. Pathetic. Can't wait for November 2012 when many of them will be able to finally take those consultant jobs they've sold their votes for. God bless 'em!

    May 4, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. lynn

    How many little innocent babies is the Congressman willing to adopt and raise? Put your money where your mouths are people, for every person whining about the loss of innocent lives to abortion, please sign on the dotted line to take a baby and raise it as your own if the mother can't.

    May 4, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Stu Steinberg

    Great googly moogly. What a group of complete morons these people are. With all that is wrong, this is what they are wasting their time and my taxes on since this legislation has absolutely zero chance of passing in the Senate and would be vetoed by the President. In addition, it seems patently obvious that many parts of it would not be constitutional. I can only hope, with unemployment, outsourcing and the cost of gas being on most people's mind, that they make this a campaign issue for 2012. Just one more thing to ensure they have no chance of electing their candidate. For the party that claims to believe in free-market concepts and small government, they continue to propose anti-capitalist legislation and having the govrenment, in this case IRS, intrude into our private lives.

    May 4, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. bluffsinview

    I thought we were worried about jobs? Isn't that what the Republicans keep yelling about? Federal funding for abortion has been banned since 1976. The GOP has collectively lost their minds.

    May 4, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Chuck

    Just curious, but doesn't the elimination of ANY tax credit or deduction violate the Grover Norquist tax pledge that these conservatives signed?

    May 4, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Nope

    The GOP has declared war on women.

    May 4, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Dan in FL

    And I believed them when they said their number one priority was to create jobs! Ok, not really. I knew they were lying and that their psuedo-religious, right-wing social agenda was job one. Everyone else understood that, didn't they?

    May 4, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    This bill is designed to force private insurance carriers from offering abortion services coverage. I thought the Republicans were all about free enterprise, state's rights, individual autonomy, etc., etc., etc.?

    Republicans need to get over the fact that we don't live in a theocracy – and that they should keep their grubby religious hands off of women's bodies!

    May 4, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Ron

    This nonsense bill is dead on arrival. Stop wasting time and start working on the economy, you chuckleheads!

    May 4, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Bill R in Oakland

    Another "symbolic" vote on a social issue.

    Hey Republican majority...WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

    And while we're on it, what about the smaller government you've been crowing about?

    May 4, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. carrotroot

    An abortion bill? Federal law already restricts it now!

    May 4, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    Can republicans do anything but fight the culture war? do they not realize most people want them to drop this nonsense and get on with the business of dragging the country back from the brink of another great depression? this country is pro-Choice. politicians have no business messing in women's health care. they have no business telling people who can and cannot enter the legal contract of marriage. they need to stop shoving thier religious beliefs down our throats and get on with the business of governing. the longer the repubs have any power, the more obvious it becomes that they are totally incapable of governing. ruling, yes. governing, hell no!

    May 4, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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