Congressmen introduce bills to strip abortion funding from federal health care

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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In the first real attempt to dismantle the nation’s health care law, two Republican congressmen introduced legislation prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, calling the procedure “accepted bigotry.”

On Thursday, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey said he is introducing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would “permanently end any U.S. government financial support of abortion, whether it be direct funding or by tax credits or any other subsidy.”

At the same time, Republican Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania is introducing the Protect Life Act, which would amend the current national health care law to cut any federal funding for abortion. This includes the costs “of any health plan that includes coverage of abortions.”

Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois is a co-sponsor of both bills.

The two separate pieces of legislation take aim at one of the country’s most heated debates. Rep. Pitts said the Protect Life Act is simply an opportunity to reintroduce legislation that became muddled during the original health-care reform debates.

At the time, Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan struck a deal with Democratic leaders, agreeing to vote for the bill if President Obama signed an executive order banning federal funding for abortion.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with Rep. Lipinksi whose legislation specifically addresses abortion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said there was still “an awful lot of debate” surrounding the executive order.

“We want to make clear, in law, that taxpayer funding for elected abortions is prohibited,” said Boehner, who remarked that there was still “disagreement” about whether or not the executive order stand.

“This will solidify that there is none,” said Boehner.

Boehner said Republicans “feels very strongly about the sanctity of life,” and the Protect Life Act would make clear that using tax payer funds for abortions was “not the policy of the government.”

As the U.S. labor market continues to struggle, however, Boehner repeated Republican attacks that the new federal health care law was a  “job destroyer.” Federally and taxpayer-funded abortions, he said, were no exception.

“All of this has a tremendous impact on jobs in the country and we’ll deal with these [issues] one at a time,” said Boehner.

Both bills make exemptions for abortions resulting from rape, or if the pregnancy is or could cause serious health issues for the woman.

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