Jun 04 2018
Congress, Administration Seek to Fortify Ban on Taxpayer Funding of Abortion
Efforts to protect the unborn are gaining ground across all branches of the government. New bills in Congress, a proposed rule by the Trump Administration, and an important legal case, which I hope will go before the Supreme Court, reaffirm how important it is to defend the sanctity of life.
The use of taxpayer money to fund abortions is already prohibited by law, but there are still organizations, like Planned Parenthood, that receive federal money for health services other than abortions. Like many Americans, I am deeply troubled that taxpayer money could be at all associated with organizations that provide or promote a practice that so many morally oppose. I have consistently used my vote in the Senate to prevent federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Two of my bills this Congress would significantly strengthen our efforts to put an end to the unjust taking of human life. One is my “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” which would make permanent the “Hyde amendment” currently passed into law every year by Congress to ban taxpayer funding for abortions. The bill would also require any Obamacare plans to inform consumers whether abortion services are part of their coverage.
My other bill, titled the “Patients First Act,” would build on work that I did in the House of Representatives to prohibit any federal funding from going toward human embryonic stem cell research. This bill would reverse President Obama’s executive order that allowed for this type of embryonic research. What we should be promoting is the use of adult stem cells that have been ethically obtained. In my judgment, the creation, use, or destruction of embryos for research purposes crosses too many ethical lines.
I have also cosponsored and voted for the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” This bill would make it illegal to perform an abortion when an unborn child has reached 20 weeks or older, except in rare circumstances.
In the executive branch, President Trump has already shown his willingness to stand up for the rights of the unborn. Last year, he reinstated the Mexico City policy, which prevents taxpayer dollars from going to international nongovernmental organizations with abortion services.
More recently, the Trump Administration has proposed a rule to prohibit any family planning organization that receives Title X funding from making referrals for abortions or being located in a place that provides abortions. This rule would stop federal funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood that include abortion as part of its family planning services. It would also help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not subsidizing abortions in any way. The new rule is similar to a policy put forward by the Reagan Administration and later rescinded by the Clinton Administration.
In addition to Title X funding, I am leading an amicus brief signed by 23 other senators urging the Supreme Court to take up the important case of Gee v. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. A Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the case currently prohibits states, including Mississippi, from eliminating taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood through Medicaid. I hope the Supreme Court will take up this case and rule in favor of states’ rights and the unborn.
These efforts across the government point to a significant moment in the fight for the unborn. I will continue to champion policies that respect human life and the proper use of taxpayer funds. I look forward to seeing these policies succeed during this Congress and Administration.