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Posted at 4:14 PM ET, 01/21/2011

GOP bill would block D.C. abortion funding

By Ben Pershing

More than 160 House members are backing a bill that would reimpose a ban on the District's using its own money to pay for abortions for low-income women, drawing the ire of D.C. activists and abortion rights supporters.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and other key members of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus this week introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which is designed to ensure that every federal government agency and program is prohibited from spending tax money to fund abortions. The measure would also reinstate the ban on D.C. abortion funding, which was lifted by President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2009.

"The new Republican majority has spent its first three weeks preaching about the need to reduce the federal government's power," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said in a press release. "Yet the third bill they introduced this Congress prohibits a local jurisdiction from spending its own local funds."

Backers of the bill see it as the best way to ensure that a government-wide ban is enforced.

"It is imperative that the federal government stays out of the business of subsidizing the morally objectionable practice of abortion," said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).

But Smith's measure has sparked concern from D.C. home rule advocates.

For the purposes of enforcing the abortion funding ban, the text of the bill says: "The term `Federal Government' includes the government of the District of Columbia." A spokeswoman for D.C. Vote, which advocates for District voting rights, said in a statement that the group "sees this as the beginning of an attempt to take-over DC and undermine or roll back the provisions of the Home Rule Charter."

As of Friday afternoon, Smith's measure had 161 co-sponsors and the public backing of the top GOP leadership. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote, though Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday called it "one of our highest legislative priorities." Even if it passes the House, however, it may not ever see a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

By Ben Pershing  | January 21, 2011; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Congressional Oversight, Eleanor Holmes Norton  
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And of course these are the same people who complain about federal interference in their own states. And of course there is obvious irony that people who describe themselves as "Pro-Life" are so viciously opposed to programs to improve the availability of life-saving health care for people who aren't fortunate enough to be Republican members of Congress.

If they were to expend 1/10 as much concern for the interests of the post-born as they do for the "pre-born," we would all be a lot better off.

If Cong. Pitts and the others of his ilk were REALLY and SINCERELY concerned about "morally objectionable" activities, then he would read Matthew 25 and reconsider why they are so enthusiastically condemning themselves to spending eternity in hell.

Posted by: edallan | January 22, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Reactionary Republicans, let me put this in words you might be able to understand - with apologies to those whom I might offend hereby:

If you prohibit DC from contributing public funds for abortions, whose unwanted babies are going to be born? Poor people's. And most likely people of color. Isn't it counter-productive to your long-term interests to increase this population?

Posted by: nan_lynn | January 22, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I think people who claim to be "small government" conservatives are disingenuous. I think they want a government small enough to fit into an individual's bedroom, but too LARGE to fit into a corporate boardroom.

Posted by: kpharmer | January 22, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

But they have no problem with the child being born and starving to death.
Why does 'Pro Life' only deal with potential people instead of actual people?

Posted by: nmoses | January 23, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

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