Abortion funding ban fails in Senate COVID proposal
By TOM STRODE, Baptist Press
WASHINGTON (BP) – Republican efforts in the US Senate to insert long-standing protection against federal abortion funding into a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill have failed to the dismay of enemies government support for the murderous process.
The Senate on Saturday rejected a motion that would have applied the Hyde Amendment to part of the health care funding in the US bailout package promoted by President Biden. His approval would have barred those statutory funds from paying for abortions. The roll call for the amendment by Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., Was 52-47 in favor, but 60 votes were required under the rule for its passage.
Senators approved the entire package in a party line, a 50-49 vote later the same day. Although the House of Representatives passed the proposal on February 27, it will need to act on the Senate version before it can go to Biden for his signature.
Democratic-controlled chambers have now passed separate measures that defy the standard set at the last Congress. With a Senate controlled by Republicans and President Trump in the White House, five COVID-19 relief bills that included guarantees against federal abortion funding have been approved as of March 2020. The newly enacted measures also ignore the Hyde Amendment, which has banned the funding of abortions in federal health programs since 1976.
Chelsea Sobolik, policy director of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said of the Senate’s failure to block abortion funding: “Ending this pandemic and these economic hardships is a unifying effort. which should not be corrupted by the abortion lobby program.
“It is morally wrong,” she said in written comments, that the bill passed by the Senate “is about making federal money available to the abortion industry.” American taxpayers’ money should never fund abortion, which would be particularly serious in the event of a health crisis. “
The ERLC calls on the House “to seize this opportunity to add protections from the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life conscience riders for the good of all Americans,” Sobolik said.
Carol Tobias, chair of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), accused Democrats who opposed the pro-life amendment of betraying “the vast majority of Americans who oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. . Pro-abortion Democrats are more interested in funding abortion and abortion providers who want abortion to be available anytime during pregnancy, anywhere, for any reason, and paid for by taxpayers.
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, thanked the three Democratic Party members who voted for the Lankford amendment and urged Biden and House leaders to restore pro-life protections. “It’s NOT unifying,” she tweeted.
“The Biden administration must step back from a radical shift to a long-standing abortion policy and consider further reducing abortion.
Democrats tion in [America]Day wrote on Twitter. “States that fund abortion have higher rates.” Who voted for the Lankford Amendment were Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. All GOP members supported him.
It seems unlikely that Democrats will change their votes in the House to restore Hyde Amendment-type protections. The House passed its version of the relief package by a 219-212 vote, with just two Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.
Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans disagree with government funding for abortion. A January poll by Marist Poll for the Knights of Columbus showed that 58% of American adults “oppose” or “strongly oppose” taxpayer funding for abortion. The poll showed that 31% of Democrats and 34% of those who identified themselves as pro-choice were opposed.
NRLC reported that after the bill is passed in the House, the bill could result in the application of approximately $ 414 billion or more in federal funds to elective abortions or to health insurance that covers abortions. elective.
Susan B. Anthony’s list said of the legislation after getting approval from the House without pro-life protection that it includes billions of dollars for community health centers, $ 750 million for activities International Health, a $ 50 million increase for the Title X family planning program, and federal grants for health insurance coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
Life for Life supporters apparently won a victory, however, when Democrats removed a provision from the House-passed bill that would have allowed Planned Parenthood, the nation’s No.1 abortion provider. , to qualify for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is designed during the pandemic to help with employee retention by small businesses, including churches and non-profit organizations. lucrative. At least 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received over $ 80 million in the first rounds of PPP loans last year, when they were not eligible under the program’s requirements.
Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., Said he told the Senate parliamentarian that the proposal violated a rule of the house because it only benefited family planning. Before the parliamentarian made his ruling, Democrats removed the provision from the law, he said.
Amendments were also introduced to apply the Hyde Amendment to other healthcare measures, but only Lankford’s proposal was passed. A Senate rule prevented a complete ban on abortion funding throughout the bill.
Republicans missed a member in votes on the relief package because Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska was home for a family funeral. Even if Sullivan had been present, Vice President Kamala Harris could have broken the tie because of her role as Speaker of the Senate.
The Hyde Amendment, which must be approved annually, prohibits Medicaid funding for abortion except in cases of rape or incest pregnancy and when the mother’s life is in danger. The amendment became the general label for these bans in federal health programs. The measure has saved the lives of more than 2.4 million unborn children, according to an estimate last year by Michael New, associate researcher at the Charlotte Lozier Pro-Life Institute.
The measure passed by the Senate includes a rebate of up to $ 1,400 per person, but reduces the maximum amount of income to which a person would be entitled. The Senate version, however, does not include the House-approved increase in the federal minimum wage to $ 15 by 2025.