(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) spoke out on Tuesday about the importance of upcoming pro-life legislation in the new Congress to combat a “culture of denial” and “coercion,” which he said “is embedded in the abortion movement.”
“Abortion is not healthcare; it dismembers and chemically poisons defenseless unborn children and hurts their mothers.” Smith said at the Heritage Action Conservative Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.
“The culture of denial that refuses to look at that fact, and the fact that these children are killed and their mothers wounded, needs to be displaced and this Congress has an opportunity to bring legislation to the floor, which we will, that will not only seek to protect but also to educate.”
Representative Smith brought up three pieces of legislation that he believes will be significant: The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.
“There is a massive movement in the United States and worldwide to compel all of us to be complicit in abortion no matter how much objection, whether it be OBGYNs, whether it be health insurance providers, whether it be a purchaser of a premium,” he said. “All of us need somehow to be involved and we can’t extricate ourselves from that complicity.”
Smith called this coercion “unconscionable,” and referred to the recent case in California in which the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) required that “all health plans under its jurisdiction include elective abortions, including late-term abortions,” with no religious or moral exemptions allowed.
“What’s all this choice talk when you’re coercing people to be involved in abortion at every stage, funding it, allowing facility for it, enabling it?” he asked.
Smith believes that the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) will help.
ANDA would strengthen the Weldon Amendment, approved by Congress every year since 2004, which “forbids governmental bodies receiving federal funds from discriminating against those who decline to take part in abortion or abortion coverage.”
Currently, the Weldon Amendment is not effectively enforced because the remedy for an aggrieved party is to go to the Department of Health and Human Services and have their office on civil rights adjudicate your matter.
“Don’t hold your breath on that one,” Smith joked, explaining that ANDA would strengthen enforcement by providing the complainant a right of private action.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sent a letter to Congress in December urging them to incorporate the protections of ANDA into must-pass funding legislation.
Smith also discussed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The bill will come up for a vote next Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the day of the annual March for Life.
Smith referenced the work of Dr. Kawaljeet Anand who “was very involved in anesthesia for unborn children.”
He added that there are many others in the medical community “that have come forward that said that when they do pre-natal surgery, microsurgery, and do things that are life- enhancing for the unborn child there needs to be anesthesia because we now know the child experiences pain and it’s pain that exceeds what even a newborn, or a 5-year-old, or people of our age might experience because the pain receptors are so close to the skin.”
“To think that that child would be subjected to a process, a procedure that is anything but benign, that dismembers the arms, the legs, decapitates,” Smith said, “it is barbaric.”
“At least under this legislation after 20 weeks they would not be permitted, except in the most extreme cases,” he said, adding that it is “a huge step in the right direction.”
Smith also addressed “President Obama’s solemn promise not to fund abortion on demand,” which “continues to be broken with impunity.”
“It’s not just a lie that was done once; it gets replicated year in and year out because what he said got the votes to procure enactment of that egregiously flawed legislation,” Smith said referencing Obama’s Executive Order 13535 and the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of any health-care plan that includes coverage of abortion, with exceptions for abortions done in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother. Obama's executive order was meant to prevent taxpayer-funded abortion through the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
However a September Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report revealed that Obamacare policies paid for elective abortions sometimes without the knowledge of the policyholders.
“The Obama administration’s cover-up of abortion insurance plans on the exchange is absolutely unnecessary, it’s unacceptable, and it is unconscionable. The consumers have a right to know,” Smith said.
“Last year the House passed HR 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Full Disclosure Act, which would end public funding for abortion while alerting consumers which plans in 2014 had abortion in them,” Smith said. He further noted that then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had refused to allow the Senate to vote on the legislation and that “the President issued a statement of administration policy, saying he would veto it.”
“This Congress should be different,” he said. “We are hopeful that the Senate will take up the legislation. We will take it up as well and hopefully this legislation will -- even if the President vetoes it -- it’ll be another step and another move in the direction of finally excising the killing of unborn children from abortion.”