Democrats Focus on Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
House Democrats are defending abortion rights with a vengeance. Since the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Democrats have threatened to codify Roe v. Wade through any means possible. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee met to craft legislation that will fund all government agencies. Instead of focusing on responsible spending and cutting the debt, they had a showdown over abortion rights.
Two longstanding amendments were nowhere to be found in the appropriations bills. The Hyde amendment that prevents taxpayer money from paying for abortions and Weldon amendment that provides conscience protections for individuals and entities that refuse to participate in abortions have been ignored in this Democrat-controlled Congress. These historically bipartisan amendments have been supported by Democrats since the 1970s including President Joe Biden. However, they have flip-flopped in the name of politics rather than representing the American people.
Republican members of the Appropriations committee fought hard for pro-life measures. Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) offered an amendment to the Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) package to reinstate both Hyde and Weldon. He asserted that the bill could not move forward without them and reminded the committee that the previous Omnibus had those protections. However, the amendment failed by a vote of 26-31 with one Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) voting in favor.
Shortly after, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) offered an amendment to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to “use every tool at its disposal to ensure that medication abortion care is accessible, affordable, covered, and convenient for patients including through access to telehealth.” This passed by voice vote.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) pushed for similar efforts in the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) package. Fortunately, conscience protections were retained in this bill, but the Hyde amendment was struck. Rep. Aderholt offered an amendment to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions in federal prisons. This measure failed by a vote of 25-31 with Rep. Cuellar voting in favor once again.
In the same package, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-FL) offered an amendment that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could not prosecute anyone who traveled across lines to obtain or assist in an abortion. This quickly became problematic if a trafficker, rapist, or abuser would take their victims to get abortions without repercussions. After the passage of the amendment, Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler quickly offered an amendment to clarify that the DOJ would prosecute these bad actors. In a sickening vote of 24-31, her amendment failed. Leaving Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) speechless, Rep. Herrera-Beutler pointedly stated:
The problem as I see it, there’s an effort with this amendment not necessarily to fix the law to protect these women, but to overturn the Supreme Court.
Even in the Agriculture package, members of the committee grappled over pro-life language. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) offered an amendment to prohibit funds from dispensing mifepristone outside of a healthcare setting. This drug is commonly used to end pregnancies. The amendment was defeated 26-32.
Despite the long list of failed pro-life amendments, Republicans were given a couple of wins. Language was added to the LHHS and CJS packages to grant extra security for pregnancy health centers and the Supreme Court Justices due to violent protestors after the Dobbs ruling.
The full appropriations package will be placed for a floor vote in the upcoming weeks. Although it will likely pass the House, the Senate will engage in more intense deliberations which may completely rewrite the bill. If it stalls in the Senate, both chambers will have to pass a continuing resolution or face a government shutdown. Eagle Forum will keep you updated on the movement of all government spending-related bills.