WASHINGTON — Following a hearing on Wednesday surrounding a proposed bill that bars federal subsidies from going to insurance plans that provide abortion coverage, Arizona Representative Trent Franks spoke out plainly against the issue of abortion.
“I don’t think there’s any greater war on women anywhere in the world than abortion on demand,” he told MSNBC.
“There are very few issues that are more important to the Republican [party] foundation than protecting innocent human life,” Franks said. “If somehow now we should let that central pillar of who we are as a party crumble, we would simply go the way of the Whigs.”
Franks was speaking in respect to H7, a House bill that would amend Title 1 of the U.S. Code and further the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, with the exceptions of rape and incest.
The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” was introduced last year by New Jersey Representative Chris Smith in an effort to inform Americans that many health insurance plans contain a hidden surcharge for abortion services. It has 147 co-sponsors, 3 of which are Democrats.
‘‘No funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for any abortion,” the law outlines, repeating that no funds “shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.”
The Congressional Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on Thursday to consider the bill, with a variety of testimony about the matter.
“The power to tax is power to destroy the right to choose,” Representative Gerald Nadler (D-NY) asserted, claiming that the Act would affect women who seek tax deductions for their medical expenses.
Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) expressed confusion over why the bill was necessary.
“I’m struggling some to figure out why we’re here today,” he stated. “Federal funding hasn’t been used for abortions in 30 years. … So, if the problem is trying to keep taxpayers from footing the bill for abortions, mission accomplished.”
But Franks reminded those in the room that there are two questions that need to be contemplated surrounding the proposal.
“The two most important questions asked today are: Does abortion take the life of a child, and, if so, should taxpayers be forced to pay for it?” he explained.
“Abortion is not a part of any women’s health agenda,” testified Helen Alvare, a professor at George Mason School of Law. “It’s different than anything else the federal government might fund. It’s not like any other medical procedure.”
Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) likewise spoke out in favor of the right to life, telling the story of his own daughter who was born prematurely.
“I would do anything to keep her alive,” he said, noting that she was small enough to rest in his hand. “And it is hard for me to fathom someone wanting to kill what I called a child, what some may call an embryo, when she’s living in my hand at the same time a child of the same age is living in someone’s womb.”
A number of states have already barred insurance companies from including abortion coverage in health care plans, or have mandated that separate riders be made available for women who wish to purchase the coverage themselves.
Photo: Gage Skidmore