House votes to cut abortion funding permanently
Abortion | The law would codify the Hyde Amendment and close loopholes in Obamacare
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/24/17, 06:24 pm
The pro-life movement gained even more momentum in Washington, D.C., today when the House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would strengthen and make permanent a ban on using federal dollars for abortion.
The 238-183 vote came just one day after President Donald Trump ordered an end to foreign aid for nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion.
Since 1977, the Hyde Amendment restricted federal agencies from directly paying for abortions, primarily through Medicaid. The amendment had an exception for cases of rape and incest or when the mother’s life was in danger. But Congress had to renew the measure each year as part of the budget process; the law passed today could remain in effect unless repealed by future legislation.
“Following an election in which voters chose a pro-life president and a pro-life Congress, our nation is moving toward a new era where all human beings, born and unborn, are protected under the law,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said after the bill passed.
The bill also closes an Obamacare loophole that allowed taxpayer funding to flow toward abortions. The Affordable Care Act established government subsidies for consumers to put toward insurance plans on state and national exchanges, some of which covered elective abortion. A Government Accountability Office report from 2014 stated more than 1,000 insurance plans in 28 states included abortion coverage. The Family Research Council estimated the number at about 891 plans in 2017.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act prohibits government subsidies from paying for health plans that cover abortion. Customers can still purchase abortion coverage separately, using their own money.
“Under Obamacare, many Americans unknowingly pay for abortion services covered under their healthcare plan,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who is sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate. The measure’s fate is not clear; it needs 60 Senate votes to beat a filibuster and go to Trump for signature, and Republicans have a 52-48 majority. In 2015, the House approved a similar bill, but the Senate never brought it up for a vote.
Sunday marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-lifers will gather in Washington on Friday for the annual March for Life to advocate for an end to abortion.