Ahead of March for Life, Congress Moves Legislation Forward to End Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

By Penny Starr | January 23, 2017 | 3:49 PM EST

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Both the House and the Senate are moving legislation forward this week that would end all taxpayer funding for abortion, including those paid for through some insurance plans that are part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ or S. 184, would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion,” a press release distributed to the media said. “Similar policies, such as the Hyde Amendment, currently require annual passage and do not apply to Obamacare.”

The legislation has a provision to make certain all plans offered through Obamacare exchanges must disclose whether it includes coverage of elective abortion procedures, as well as the abortion surcharge embedded into abortion-covering plans, the press release said.

In 2014, the Government Accountability Office issued a report showing that taxpayer dollars paid for more than 1,000 health insurance plans that included elective abortion.

The Senate bill is a companion to H.R. 7, legislation authored in the House by Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), which Senate staff said could be voted on this week ahead of the pro-life March For Life rally taking place in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

“Taxpayer money should not be used to fund a procedure that so many Americans find morally objectionable,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who introduced the bill with Sens. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.) and Deb Fischer, (R-Neb.). “The time is ripe for us to enact a permanent solution that protects American taxpayers from funding abortions.

“This bill would establish these protections, in addition to making sure that people are notified if they have selected an abortion-covering health-care plan under Obamacare,” Wicker said. “Until we are able to undo these harmful health-care policies, transparency of the plans is critical.”

“Millions of Americans do not want to use their hard-earned money to cover abortion services,” Roberts said. “Currently, under Obamacare, many Americans unknowingly pay for abortion services covered under their health care plan.

“Our bill will permanently prohibit any taxpayer dollar from being used to pay for abortions and protect the rights for consumers to choose an insurance plan that is in line with their beliefs and values,” Roberts said.

A Knights of Columbus-Marist poll conducted last year showed that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer-funded abortions.

Cosponsors of the legislation include: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.) Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The bill is supported by the National Right to Life, the Family Research Council, the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, March for Life, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.