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Posted at 3:21 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

'Protect Life' bill to ban federal abortion funding is debated

By Felicia Sonmez

The renewed debate over federal funding of abortion continued on Wednesday as a second House committee took up the issue in a hearing on a Republican-sponsored measure.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health heard testimony on H.R. 358, the "Protect Life Act," a measure sponsored by the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).

The measure would prohibit federal funding for abortions under the national health-care law and also would prevent funding from being withheld from institutions that refuse to provide abortions. Abortion-rights advocates argue that the bill would allow health-care providers to refuse to provide abortions in cases where the woman's life is threatened and would prohibit women from using their own money to obtain insurance that covers a range of reproductive care.

Testifying at the hearing were Helen Alvare, associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law; Douglas Johnson, federal legislative director at the National Right to Life Committee; and Sara Rosenbaum, chairwoman of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University.

At the committee hearing, House Democrats portrayed the Pitts bill as extreme and argued that it would do more than preventfederal funds from going toward abortions - something that Democrats argue isn't happening in the first place.

"The debate today isn't about tax dollars or provider conscience," Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) said. "Instead, it's about chipping away at the legal rights of women."

Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, co-chairman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, contended that the bill would mean that "anybody who purchases an insurance policy ... that covers all reproductive services now cannot have any kind of tax relief," a move DeGette argued would represent the "most vast restriction of woman's right to choose."

"It's not about direct federal funding of abortion," DeGette said. "We don't have that. We don't have that. What it's about is saying these indirect tax credits will now be interpreted as federal funding."

Republicans on the panel defended the measure. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) argued that the health care law as it currently stands has loopholes that would allow for federal funding of abortion, something that the Pitts bill would "clearly and statutorily" prevent.

In addition, Upton said, the measure would protect health care professionals' right of conscience and "ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion."

Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess, chairman of the Congressional Health Care Caucus and a former ob/gyn, said that by permanently codifying the Hyde Amendment, which Congress usually renews annually, the Pitts bill "extends the status quo."

"I think it is important to codify with this language that we are responsible for the judicious use of taxpayer dollars," Burgess said.

Neither the Pitts bill nor a separate measure sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) has yet been scheduled for a vote, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

By Felicia Sonmez  | February 9, 2011; 3:21 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Can't help but think of this when reading about this debate..."When your right to an abortion is taken away, what are you going to do?" http://on.fb.me/91S2pF

Posted by: Steve10001 | February 14, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Sigh . . .(from a retired Reproductive Biologist who spent 30 years in research/teaching on fertilization and gametogenesis, Phd. FSU/ National and International recognition)

One of the WORST Dark Ages Dogma holdovers is the believe that a human fertilized egg, blastula, gastrula, embryo or fetus with NO functioning BRAIN is a human Baby with a soul. Late abortions, third trimester - more sensible to limit abortions to incest/rape situation or when the mother's health and life is at stake.
Absolutely unforgivable is the Vatican practice of save the infant when they have to choose between infant and mother - Unforgivably Stupid and down right evil!

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 10, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Republicans won't fund abortions; but they'll cut spending on care of pregnant women and on infant feeding programs.
May they roast in hell!

Posted by: easysoul | February 10, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Republican "jobs" campaign they promised if elected is just this: We will hire people to get rid of social programs!!I always find it amusing when Republicans say we need less gov't intrusion; and yet, here they are trying to tell women what they can and can't do. A great question from a Dem on C-span the other day during the Republicans abortion debate. He says to pro-life member of the panel "you are against federal funding for any abortions"? The panel member says, "yes, I am". Dem says, then may I assume you are against federal funding of capital punishment? Response: only "crickets" chirping all over the room.

Posted by: pgmichigan | February 10, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

vanwhalgren if they want to tell republican women what to do it's fine by me, but it's telling everyone else who can think for themselves that I have a problem with. the repukes have been trying to regulate morality for a hundred years, so i guess they need laws to dictate their behavior. The rest of us, the real Americans, can make our own decisions without bible thumping politicians trying to do it for us.

Posted by: red2million | February 10, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

wheres that dumb beeetch on the commercials, who whines about the government trying to make personal decisions for her as she bellyaches about the proposed tax on sodas? republicans NEED the government or someone else to make decisions for them, because they don't have brains that can function without assistance. That's why right wing shows are so popular. I like the way they're so morally superior to the rest of us that they want to decide for everyone. Can't have it both way whackofreaks. If you want smaller govt, why do you want them to think for your moronica$$es?

Posted by: red2million | February 10, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

wheres that dumb beeetch on the commercials, who whines about the government trying to make personal decisions for her as she bellyaches about the proposed tax on sodas? republicans NEED the government or someone else to make decisions for them, because they don't have brains that can function without assistance. That's why right wing shows are so popular. I like the way they're so morally superior to the rest of us that they want to decide for everyone. Can't have it both way whackofreaks. If you want smaller govt, why do you want them to think for your moronica$$es?

Posted by: red2million | February 10, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Pregnancy is not a disease. It can easily be prevented. I, as a taxpayer, do not want to pay for other people's mistakes. Women need to start taking responsibility for their actions.

Posted by: stopmakingexcuses
------------------------------------
Only women need to start taking responsibility? So you are saying the men have no responsibility? I know of only one virgin birth.

If you don't want to pay for other people's mistakes then you want to increase spending on welfare, WIC, foodStamps, housing vouchers, education. Are you willing to spend more public money for birth control? Pre-natal care?

Posted by: daburge | February 10, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Why is a states rughts issue being debated by the House? When does the GOP Teabagger House intend to propose and debate bills promoting actual job creation and payment of the debt? Where are the jobs Boehner and Cantor? Lower taxes for the wealthy is not the answer. The 9 years of Bush tax cut rates caused a recession and high unemployment! The small Clinton tax increase peoduced job growth and a balanced budget! Where are the promised jobs and why aren't job creation and budget balancing even scheduled for debate and vote? Why does the GOP House schedule so few work days and so many vacation days?

Posted by: mikesba | February 10, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

If anti-choice advocates believe that tax breaks for abortion constitute an endorsement of abortion, then they must also believe that tax breaks for religious groups (whether Muslims, Catholics, Jews or any other religion) endorse those religions and therefore violate the First Amendment. Do they favor repeal of those tax breaks as well?
As for those who say that since pregnancy is preventable, they "do not want to pay for other people's mistakes," they will be paying a lot more if this bill passes since the taxpayers will cover pregnancy, deductions for the resulting children and, for poor parents, many of the costs of raising a child.

Posted by: polprof | February 10, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

If anti-choice advocates believe that tax breaks for abortion constitute an endorsement of abortion, then they must also believe that tax breaks for religious groups (whether Muslims, Catholics, Jews or any other religion) endorse those religions and therefore violate the First Amendment. Do they favor repeal of those tax breaks as well?
As for those who say that since pregnancy is preventable, they "do not want to pay for other people's mistakes," they will be paying a lot more if this bill passes since the taxpayers will cover pregnancy, deductions for the resulting children and, for poor parents, many of the costs of raising a child.

Posted by: polprof | February 10, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

If anti-choice advocates believe that tax breaks for abortion constitute an endorsement of abortion, then they must also believe that tax breaks for religious groups (whether Muslims, Catholics, Jews or any other religion) endorse those religions and therefore violate the First Amendment. Do they favor repeal of those tax breaks as well?
As for those who say that since pregnancy is preventable, they "do not want to pay for other people's mistakes," they will be paying a lot more if this bill passes since the taxpayers will cover pregnancy, deductions for the resulting children and, for poor parents, many of the costs of raising a child.

Posted by: polprof | February 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Pregnancy is not a disease. It can easily be prevented. I, as a taxpayer, do not want to pay for other people's mistakes. Women need to start taking responsibility for their actions.

Posted by: stopmakingexcuses | February 10, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I grew up with 10 brothers and 3 sisters
we were not wealthy in the sense of money
yet we were wealthy in the sense of family
discipline and love. We took care of each other, looked out for each other and took responsibility for each other, that makes life worthwhile. TEACH children values, facts and discipline, they will be better for it. If you follow the lead of most policitians you will end up corrupted, as they are, only concerned about money and status. REAL human beings require honesty, respect and discipline, it is how humans grow sound and healthy.

Posted by: boski66 | February 10, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Right-wingers' definition of "protecting life":

Life begins at conception and, after birth, you're on your own.

They don't give a rap about the health or education of any infant, save those from the most privileged backgrounds.

This makes equality of life's opportunities a fiction.

Posted by: carlianschwartz | February 10, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

In the first place, they claim that not one abortion was ever done to save the life of the mother, the liberals use that as an excuse to make it sound more compassionate. Secondly, with all the birth control and comprehensive sex education they claimed that we would have way fewer abortions--- Not true---We now have partial birth abortion, Lets face it progressive liberals don't want to Do the Hard Work of Properly Parenting their children, so they will grow sound and healthy, ... It is a slap in the face and a stab in the heart, for loving and concerned parents that Go the Extra Steps to PARENT CHILDREN, The HARD WORK that produces confiedent and loving children with the abillity to protect themselves and respect themselves, because their parents did the hard job of actual PARENTING. If sex and abortion and S.T.D.s are all that so-called adults have to offer youths, when they say they'll drink anyway, have sex anyway, then it just goes to show you the parents don't work with their children, they just give them the green light to do whatever they FEEL whatever FEELS GOOD, Not what is GOOD for them. They now have legislation that permits the schools to destroy all the youths with the CRAP PARENTING that permits youths to Choose, like kid's know what's good for them, look at their parents, What ever FEELS GOOD- What a bunch of LOSERS! People of substance People of Worth know that YOUTHS REQUIRE DISCIPLINE and PROPER INSTRUCTON.
http://www.nationformarriage.org/kids
http://www.massresistance.org
http://www.drjudithreisman.org
http://www.silentscream.org

Also goggle

Boston Children's Hospital Sex Change Clinic
The Transgendered Janitor in the Oxford, Massachusetts Elementry School
Dr. Money The boy with No P.E.N.I.S
Dawn Stefanowicz Out from Under
Obama's Bi-Sexuality
Plannned Parenthood as this organization goes into the public schools and gives young girls low dose birth control pills so they will become pregnant, then they take them for an abortion, many times without the parents permission

Where are the So-Called Adults?
Where are the Good and Loving Parents that know how important discipline and honesty is for youths to grow sound and healthy
Bring back home economics and shop in the public schools... Get Rid of this abuse of Comprehensive sex education it is deplorable, Give youths the tools to grow cappable and confiedent

Posted by: boski66 | February 10, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

In the first place, they claim that not one abortion was ever done to save the life of the mother, the liberals use that as an excuse to make it sound more compassionate. Secondly, with all the birth control and comprehensive sex education they claimed that we would have way fewer abortions--- Not true---We now have partial birth abortion, Lets face it progressive liberals don't want to Do the Hard Work of Properly Parenting their children, so they will grow sound and healthy, ... It is a slap in the face and a stab in the heart, for loving and concerned parents that Go the Extra Steps to PARENT CHILDREN, The HARD WORK that produces confiedent and loving children with the abillity to protect themselves and respect themselves, because their parents did the hard job of actual PARENTING. If sex and abortion and S.T.D.s are all that so-called adults have to offer youths, when they say they'll drink anyway, have sex anyway, then it just goes to show you the parents don't work with their children, they just give them the green light to do whatever they FEEL whatever FEELS GOOD, Not what is GOOD for them. They now have legislation that permits the schools to destroy all the youths with the CRAP PARENTING that permits youths to Choose, like kid's know what's good for them, look at their parents, What ever FEELS GOOD- What a bunch of LOSERS! People of substance People of Worth know that YOUTHS REQUIRE DISCIPLINE and PROPER INSTRUCTON.
http://www.nationformarriage.org/kids
http://www.massresistance.org
http://www.drjudithreisman.org
http://www.silentscream.org

Also goggle

Boston Children's Hospital Sex Change Clinic
The Transgendered Janitor in the Oxford, Massachusetts Elementry School
Dr. Money The boy with No P.E.N.I.S
Dawn Stefanowicz Out from Under
Obama's Bi-Sexuality
Plannned Parenthood as this organization goes into the public schools and gives young girls low dose birth control pills so they will become pregnant, then they take them for an abortion, many times without the parents permission

Where are the So-Called Adults?
Where are the Good and Loving Parents that know how important discipline and honesty is for youths to grow sound and healthy
Bring back home economics and shop in the public schools... Get Rid of this abuse of Comprehensive sex education it is deplorable, Give youths the tools to grow cappable and confiedent

Posted by: boski66 | February 10, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I think the Republicans are to enlarge the government to monitor all pregnancies and prosecute doctors clinics and patients. They want the likes of these congressmen to tell republican women what to do. They don't think republican women can decide on their own.

Posted by: vanwahlgren | February 10, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Pro-choice people are taxpayers too and hello, but women don't get pregnant by themselves.

The focus shouldn't be on attacking something already declared legal by the courts. We certanly don't tell men what tto do with their sperm. The focus should be on making better support networks and infrastructure so that women who face that cross-road, and are not medically threatened, feel they have viable alternatives.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | February 10, 2011 5:07 AM | Report abuse

No one is "pro-abortion." People are "pro-choice" or "anti-choice." We want all baby births to be happy occasions. We don't want abortion, rape, incest, abuse or murder to happen, but it does. Making abortion illegal won't stop it, it will only make it worse for women, specifically young and poor women, as it was before the women's liberation movement in the 1960s. As we knew back then making it illegal only prevented women from receiving proper medical care and increased child abuse. Making abortion illegal won't stop it any more than it's stopped prostitution or drugs and human traficking. Attempts to legislate morality historically fail. No one is forced to have an abortion because it's legal.Suppression, obstruction of free will and harassment can't be disguised as laws. But most importantly as an individual citizen a woman has the right to self-defense if her life is threatened, albeit by the fetus in her womb.

Posted by: SaySo1 | February 9, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Why is abortion heating up ?

Think silence over soaring abortion rates in liberal New York City (New York Post Jan. 20) lamented that “41 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion” last year.. 60% for minorities… decades of “‘comprehensive’ sex education” in the public schools and 40 million free condoms in 2009 alone, have failed to reduce the number of abortions.

Add the recent horror story of multiple baby murders and multiple botched abortions at a LEGAL late-term abortion clinic in Philadelphia ignored by State Gov. and local hospitals who treated many victims … A LEGAL abortion-doctor now revealed as a butcher out of a Stephan King horror.

Add the video stings that expose Planned Parenthood workers as willing to cover for pimps and under-age illegal sex slaves.

Consider Planned Parenthood’s 2008 factsheet indicating the number of high-profit abortions up to 324,008 - the number of low-profit adoption referrals down to 2,405. Kill ratio: over 100 to 1

Remember when liberals like Clinton promised “safe, legal and rare” ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 9, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama's favorite President Ronald Reagan once said:

"I've noticed that all the people who favor abortion have already been born,"

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 9, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

"Abortion-rights advocates argue that the bill would allow health-care providers to refuse to provide abortions in cases where the woman's life is threatened and would prohibit women from using their own money to obtain insurance that covers a range of reproductive care."

What are abortion rights? A pregnant woman has the right to kill her baby in her womb?

Abortion is evil, because abortion kills a live baby in the womb.

Those of you who are reading my comment were born from your mother's womb. That is we were all babies in our mother's womb.

If we were all babies in our mother's womb, did your mother have the "right" to kill you in her womb?

Answer: No. Because you would not be reading my comment if your mother chose her "right" to kill you in her womb.

Posted by: Chuck8764 | February 9, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

@TaxTheRichNow: You are just an angry and sad person. You never really made it did you? Your handle of "tax the rich now" seems to tell it all.

Posted by: Jsuf | February 9, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Who said the right-wingers came to Washington to take back our government?

Who said they would fix what was wrong in Washington?

Who said right-wingers would "do it right" when it came to governing?

Well, they didn't take it back because they were already obstructing it enough that no one was able to accomplish anything. If they can't drive then they will do every thing they can to wreck our society.

So far they haven't tried to fix anything. Their agenda so far has been purely ideological starting with an attempt to kill health care reform. Why? Reforming anything after their 42 years of policy making is admission of their continual 140-year-long failure record.

As to doing anything right? Well, let's see them try to do something other than undoing the positive things accomplished by Democrats, again.

These guys must really hate it that theirs is a party of failure, a party of obstruction, a party of NO. I was born in 1954 and the last successful, positive contribution from the right-wingers was the interstate highway system over 50 years ago.

Posted by: TaxTheRichNow | February 9, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Is the promised Republican jobs program we've all been waiting for?

Posted by: BBear1 | February 9, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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