Ground-breaking Bill Would Ban Tax-Funded Abortions - For Good

Steven Mosher
by Colin Mason
PRI Weekly Briefing
29 July 2010
Vol. 12 / No. 20
© 2010 Population Research Institute
Reproduced with Permission

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has just introduced legislation called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." If passed, it would institute a permanent, government-wide statutory ban on taxpayer-funded abortion.

Up to now, attempts to ban federal funding of abortion have been piecemeal, funding bans limited in scope and duration that only address part of the problem. Most of this legislation doesn't consist of standalone bills at all, but of brief language added to funding bills by pro-life members of Congress. These additions, known as "riders," simply amend the bill to exclude any funding of abortions in a particular budget, say, the foreign aid budget. Each year when these appropriations bills come before the Congress these "riders" need to be added, and the battle fought once again. The outcome is never certain, and over the first two years of the Obama presidency, the outcome has not always favored the pro-life cause. For example, Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Lincoln Davis attempted to amend the Financial Services Appropriations bill to restore the DC abortion funding ban-and their amendment was rejected.

If passed, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would represent a giant leap forward for the pro-life movement. The bill would eliminate the need for such "riders" forever, putting in place a permanent, across-the-board ban on federal funding of abortion. No longer would pro-life amendments be subject to the shifting composition of the Congress, held hostage by pro-abortion politicians, or bypassed in omnibus bills. The federal spending in the area of health, foreign aid, and defense would be governed by a clear and simple directive: not one penny of these funds can be used to procure or pay for an elective abortion.

This would be a powerful step forward for the pro-life movement and one which, Congressman Smith and his pro-life colleagues, the majority of the American people are firmly behind. According to Smith, every "reputable poll" shows that large majorities of Americans "want no complicity whatsoever in paying for the evil of abortion." This is why, he says, the "patchwork of policies" that currently exist to block abortion funding is not enough, in the long term, and reminds the public that it is "time for a single government-wide policy against funding for elective abortion."

The passage of the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," Smith continues, would constitute formal recognition by the federal government that "abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women," not to mention a repudiation of the strident voices of a virulently pro-abortion minority. At the time of this article's writing, the bill, called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,"already had 73 co-sponsors, including 6 Democrats.

"Our research into abortion abuses both at home and abroad," says Steven Mosher, PRI's president, "provides compelling evidence of the need for such legislation. The American people oppose funding abortion with their tax dollars, yet pro-abortion leaders in Washington routinely ignore their moral and ethical concerns. It is high time that this tyranny of the minority, as it might be called, be stopped."