WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act on Tuesday, essentially placing a permanent ban on taxpayer funding of abortions, as outlined in the Hyde Amendment. The matter now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Act had been introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, a longtime supporter of the Amendment, which was first passed in 1976 to ban the use of Medicaid funds for abortion, with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Noting peer reviewed studies, Smith says that the Amendment has saved two million lives since its inception.
“Two million people who would have been aborted instead survived because public funds were unavailable to effectuate their violent demise, while their mothers benefited from prenatal health care and support,” Smith said on the House floor prior to the vote. “Two million survivors have had the opportunity to live and enjoy the first and most basic of all human rights—the right to life.”
Until now, the Amendment has been considered more of a rider than a permanent fixture. Smith’s bill makes its purpose permanent and also ensures that the Affordable Care Act comes into compliance with the Amendment’s requirements.
‘‘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 No Taxpayer Funding Act reads in part.
‘‘None of the 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 health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion,” it outlines.
The bill likewise includes rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions.
On Tuesday, the measure passed in the House of Representatives 238-183, and will now move to the Senate. Abortion advocacy groups have decried the bill as being “cruel.”
“Already, too many women are denied abortion coverage because of how much they earn: HR 7 is cruel and callous legislation that would make these discriminatory bans permanent law,” Destiny Lopez, co-director of All Above All, told reporters. “This is all part of the Trump-Pence agenda to punish women.”
But Smith says, to the contrary, that there is nothing more cruel than ripping a defenseless child to pieces. He believes that both the mother and baby should be shown love and provided care.
“Growing numbers of Americans are often shocked to learn that the methods of abortion include dismemberment of a child’s fragile body including decapitation and the severing of arms and legs, or the use of drugs like RU 486 that starve the child to death before forcibly expelling him or her from the safety of the womb,” he stated on the House floor.
“[P]ro-life Americans struggle for the day when abortion violence will be replaced by compassion and empathy for women and respect for weak and vulnerable children in the womb. They believe, as do my pro-life colleagues and I, that we ought to love them both—mother and child—and not fund the destruction of children through abortion,” he explained.
The White House says that President Trump will sign the bill if it make it to his desk.
“The administration strongly supports H.R. 7,” it said in a statement. “If the president were presented with H.R. 7 in its present form, he would sign the bill.”