House Passes Bill to Block Federal Funding for Abortions from Obamacare

( [email protected] ) Jan 22, 2015 08:43 PM EST
The House on Thursday passed legislation that would block abortion coverage from plans offered by Obamacare, but stalled a stricter anti-abortion measure which would ban abortions performed twenty weeks after fertilization.
Tens of thousands of people from across the United States and abroad gathered at National Mall for the annual March for Life on January 22, 2015. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The House on Thursday passed a bill denying abortion providers of taxpayer funds, called the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, but delayed a vote on a ban for abortions performed twenty weeks after fertilization, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

"All human life is worth protecting," said Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind, according to the Washington Examiner. "For years now, pro-life Americans have been forced to watch as their tax dollars subsidized abortion procedures they're morally opposed to."

The bill was passed the same day as the annual March for Life, attended by thousands of pro-lifers in Washington, D.C., and comes on the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a public statement expressing disappointment over the stalling of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, but praising the House for taking up the defunding bill.

"One of Family Research Council's top legislative priorities has been the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act," he said. "Americans have been forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions long enough by being made to fund President Obama's massive abortion scheme."

"We applaud the leadership for remaining committed to advancing pro-life legislation," he added.

House pro-life advocate Chris Smith of New Jersey, a Republican, told NPR, "The pain-capable legislation is only delayed...It'll be up on the floor soon. We are working through a few bits of text."

However, the decision to pass the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act did not sit well with Democrats, who called the legislation a Republican "assault on women's health" and argued that it places limitations on healthcare access to women.  

"I believe that efforts like H.R. 7, the bill the House considered today, would intrude on women's reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today," President Obama said in a statement. "The federal government should not be injecting itself into decisions best made between women, their families and their doctors."

The White House has also threatened to veto the bill, claiming that taxpayer money is not, in fact, funding abortions. Rather, it argues that private insurance companies pay for abortions under Obamacare.

"Longstanding federal policy prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered," the White House said Thursday. "The administration strongly opposes legislation that unnecessarily restricts women's reproductive freedoms and consumers' private insurance options."

Meanwhile, three anti-abortion groups have vowed to continue working with House and Senate Republican leaders to ensure a vote on the 20-week abortion takes place soon.

"While we are disappointed that the House will not be voting on the [20-week abortion ban] today, we are pleased that the House is moving forward to stop taxpayer funding of abortion," said the Susan B. Anthony List, the March for Life Education and Defense Fund and the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.