Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pro-Life Provisions in Financial Services-related bill

Today the House passed H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2019. The Financial Services portion of the bill includes new pro-life provisions.

1. The Harris Amendment to repeal the 2017 DC law legalizing physician-assisted suicide in the District of Columbia. As of April 2018, no patient in DC had utilized the law and just 2 of the approximately 11,000 physicians licensed to practice in DC had registered to participate as a provider of the lethal prescriptions.

2. The Harris Amendment to prevent the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from contracting to offer insurance plans that include elective abortion through the Multi-State Plan Program (MSPP). Abortion coverage is prohibited in the plans OPM contracts for federal employees (due to the longstanding Smith Amendment), but it is currently permitted for OPM’s Multi-State Plan Program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.

3. The Palmer Amendment to prevent funding to carry out the 2015 DC law, Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA). RHNDA 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 bill carries forward the pro-life limitation of funds amendments that are already part of current law and require annual renewal. It includes the Smith Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funding for elective abortion coverage in Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHBP) plans. It also includes the Dornan Amendment, which prohibits all Congressionally-appropriated funds (both federal and local) from being used for abortion in the District of Columbia.

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