Saturday, May 11, 2019

FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) funding bill passes committee

Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) funding bill.


The bill includes all long-standing pro-life protections. This includes the Hyde Amendment (banning taxpayer dollars from being used for abortion).

There are three problematic sections:

1) increases funding to the Title X family planning program and blocks the Trump Administration’s final rule

2) increases funding to the Teen Prevention Program (TPP) and requires Obama-era grantees to continue receiving funding

3) eliminates the Sexual Risk Avoidance program which funds abstinence education


During the mark-up, three amendments were offered that would have strengthened pro-life protections:

Amendment Protecting Born-Alive Abortion Survivors

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) offered an amendment to withhold funds from any entity that does not ensure that any infant born alive following an abortion receives the same medical care as any other infant born at the same gestational age.

Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) spoke in defense of this amendment, saying: “I believe every newborn child has value and should be protected.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) recounted how, when she was pregnant with her oldest child, doctors said the baby had 100% chance of dying. Instead, her daughter survived and has a full life ahead of her. She also pushed back against claims that babies never survive abortion attempts, telling the stories of survivors like Gianna Jessen.

The amendment failed by a vote of 23-29, along party lines, except Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) voted in favor of the amendment.

Amendment Supporting the Protect Life Rule

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) offered an amendment in defense of the Trump Administration’s final Title X rule that would prohibit grantees from referring for abortion and requires Title X entities to maintain physical and financial separation from abortion providers.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) spoke in support of the Roby Amendment, reminding Members that abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which receives $60 million in Title X funds annually, is the nation’s largest abortion provider.

The amendment failed by voice vote.

No Funding for Aborted Fetal Tissue Research

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) offered an amendment to prevent federal funds from being used to support fetal tissue research. He also rebutted opposition, declaring: “This is [about] the ethics of using a human being…or the remains of a human being.” He referenced the Planned Parenthood videos depicting its sale of baby parts, reminding Members, “There were buckets of fetal body parts. There were brains…we saw the receipt, there were brains sold for $800 and, by the way, there was sales tax on it.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) defended the Harris Amendment, saying, “The [Majority’s] argument is, somehow, we don’t like women…as a woman, that’s really insulting. We’re just trying to make sure there are boundaries around how this research is done.”

The amendment failed by voice vote.

There was one amendment offered that attacked the Trump Administration’s pro-life policy:

Amendment to block implementation of the Trump Administration’s new Conscience Rule offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) objected to the amendment, explaining it “would force people to perform procedures that they find morally repellant.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) also objected: “I might be the only one in the room who has actually ever been affected by something like this.”  He shared how, while at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, a colleague pressured him to participate in abortion.  He exclaimed, “No one should participate as a requirement of their license to do anything they that is against their religious beliefs.”

The amendment was adopted 30-23 along party lines.

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