Friday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will take to the National Mall to participate in the annual March for Life and peacefully demonstrate for the rights of the unborn.
As men and women join together to show the power of the pro-life movement, let’s take a moment and go over the good, the bad, and the ugly of current pro-life legislation.
This week Congress took a step in the right direction by passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (H.R. 7). This bill established a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal taxpayer funding of abortion and health benefits plans that include coverage of abortions through Obamacare.
Under Obamacare, many Americans were being forced to pay an easily missed surcharge that covered abortions for others on the insurance exchanges. This essentially amounted to an abortion funding stream, and during a time when 61 percent of Americans believe taxpayer dollars should not go to abortion.
The Trump administration also took action this week with the executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy, which some are calling an international defunding of Planned Parenthood. The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas explains:
[President Donald] Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which specifies that federal funds for family planning go only to foreign nongovernmental organizations that agree not to perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other countries.
H.R. 7 and Trump’s executive action show positive legislative momentum to furthering the pro-life movement. But few fights in Washington are won without opposition.
Last week, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Patient Freedom Act (S.B. 191).
This bill would disastrously go further than simply using money from the insurance exchanges to fund insurance plans that include abortions. It would also allow taxpayer dollars to directly fund abortions.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it works.
Under current law, Obamacare gives money to recipients through a Roth Health Savings Account fund, or a flexible savings account. That money could be used for abortions under the banner of being a “qualified medical expense.”
The plan put forth by Cassidy and Collins would go even further by directly allowing taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. Chris Jacobs’ explains:
Not only would the Patient Freedom Act provide federal funds to insurance plans that cover abortion, it would allow individuals to fund their abortions directly with federal funds. The federal allotments would be directly provided (using a state-based formula developed by the Department of Health and Human Services) to eligible individuals using the new Roth Health Savings Account option.
A member of Cassidy’s staff says this is simply an oversight that will be corrected. But until it is corrected, Republicans must stand opposed to this bill.
The fight to fully end federal funding for abortion is far from over.
Last week’s Women’s March on Washington is one such example of the opposition being faced by the pro-life movement. This march was organized around the generic idea of protecting and respecting human rights—but it failed to recognize the human rights of the unborn.
Conservatives must continue to fight in the public sphere to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion provider, and after Obamacare is repealed, must ensure the patient-centered solution does not use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
The rights of individuals to express their political beliefs has always been at the bedrock of America. Those rights have been on full display over the past seven days, and it is incumbent upon policymakers to remember that those rights apply equally to the unborn as well.