Saturday, September 16, 2017

Federal Pro-Life Funding Policies, Fiscal Year 2018

This week the House approved H.R. 3354, Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018. The consolidated appropriations bill includes all 12 appropriations bills.

H.R. 3354 contained several new pro-life policies and funding level changes. Most of these provisions were included in the chairmen’s base bills or added during committee consideration. The Palmer Amendment (Division D) was added during floor consideration.

Division D (Financial Services)
  • Harris Multi-State Plan Abortion Funding Ban — This provision would eliminate elective abortion coverage from the Multi-State Plan Program, created by Obamacare.
  • Harris Amendment to Repeal DC Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide — This provision nullifies the 2016 DC law that authorizes a DC adult resident who has been diagnosed as terminally ill to request and receive a prescription for lethal medication.
  • Palmer Amendment to prevent implementation of the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) — RHNDA is a 2014 DC law that prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on “reproductive health decisions,” including the decision to have an abortion. RHNDA could be used to force religious or pro-life advocacy groups to make personnel decisions that are inconsistent with their sincerely held beliefs about the sanctity of human life. The Palmer Amendment was adopted on the House floor today by a vote of 214-194. 212 Republicans and 2 Democrats (Lipinski, Peterson) voted for the Palmer amendment, 183 Democrats and 11 Republicans (Coffman, Costello, Curbelo, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Katko, McSally, Meehan, Poliquin, Reed, Stefanik) voted against, and 25 Members did not vote.
Division E (Homeland Security)
  • Aderholt Detainee Abortion Funding Ban — A provision to prohibit abortion funding for immigration detainees.
Division F (Labor, Health and Human Services)
  • Full text of Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644) — Provides conscience protection for entities that do not wish to participate in abortion, as well as a private right of action for victims of abortion discrimination.
  • Prohibits funding to Planned Parenthood — Abortion providers that received over $23 million in federal grants in FY16 are barred from receiving any funding made available under the Labor, Health and Human Services bill.
  • Stops federal funding for research using aborted fetal tissue and redirects those funds to ethical alternatives.
  • Funding Level: Funds are eliminated from the Title X Family Planning Program, which is a source of funding for Planned Parenthood. ($286 million was appropriated to the Title X program in FY17.)
Division G (State, Foreign Operations)
  • Applies the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (Mexico City Policy), supporting the President’s January 23, 2017 Executive Memorandum.
  • Prohibits funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
  • Funding Level: International Family Planning is reduced to “not more than $461 million.” (“Not less than $575 million” was appropriated in FY17.)
All existing pro-life limitation of funds amendments, such as…
  • the Hyde amendment (banning federal funding for abortion in HHS appropriations), 
  • Dickey-Wicker amendment (banning federal funding for embryo destructive research), 
  • the Smith amendment (preventing elective abortion coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program),
…and numerous others, are also included in H.R. 3354.

Last week the House passed a 3-month continuing resolution, which will expire on December 8, 2017.

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