ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Speaker of the House John Boehner this morning expressed support for a new bill that would permanently ban federal funding for abortions and called the measure one of the House’s “top legislative priorities” in the 112 th Congress.
Boehner, R-Ohio, said that by enacting the ban, House Republicans would fulfill a promise from the Pledge to America to “[ensure] that tax dollars are never used to fund elective abortions.”
“A ban on taxpayer funding of abortions is the will of the people, and it ought to be the will of the land,” Boehner said. “The current law, particularly as enforced by this administration, does not reflect the will of the American people. Last year, we listened to the American people through America Speaking Out. They spoke on this issue loudly and clearly. So we have included it in our Pledge, and today we're making good on that commitment.”
Boehner said the legislation, known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” would codify the Hyde Amendment and other similar policies by permanently applying a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions across all federal programs.
“This common sense legislation reflects the will of the people and deserves the support of the House,” Boehner said. “It's one of our highest legislative priorities, and as such, I've directed that it receive the designation of H.R. 3.”
Rep. Chris Smith, who introduced the bill, said the measure would also address conscience protection for health care personnel to ensure that anyone opposed to abortion is not forced to participate or assist in the procedure.
“Our legislation also includes a very important conscience protection to empower the courts to ensure that conscience objectors -- doctors, hospitals, health care networks, individual health care personnel -- are not forced to participate in the taking of a human life,” Smith, R-New Jersey, said. “H.R. 3 really reflects [Boehner’s] and our profound commitment to respecting the sanctity of human life and getting rid of and making permanent -- getting rid of taxpayer funding for abortion like in the District of Columbia.”
“President Obama has said that he wants abortion to be rare,” Smith added. “If we want fewer abortions, take away the federal subsidy.”
When Boehner said that the bill would “make clear that taxpayer funding of elective abortions will not be the policy of this government,” he was asked why there is a need for the legislation if there is a safeguard already in place?
“They claim that it is, but we had an opportunity during the health care debate [last year] to include the Stupak language, which would have made clear in law that taxpayer funding of elective abortion is prohibited. That was -- that did not occur, and clearly, there's an awful lot of doubt as to where the administration really is on this issue,” Boehner said. “The will of the people is that we enact this clear-cut prohibition on the use of taxpayer funds for elective abortions.”
Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania, and Daniel Lipinski, D-Illinois, are expected to soon introduce their own separate legislation to specifically prohibit any funding from the health care law from funding abortions.