Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pro-Life implications of Financial Services appropriations bill

This afternoon the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3351, the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for FY 2020 by a vote of 224-196. The vote fell primarily along party lines with five Democrats voting in opposition: Reps. Gonzalez (TX), Vela, McAdams, Peterson, and Lipinski.

H.R. 3351 undermines the DC Hyde (Dornan) Amendment, which states that DC may not use any funding (neither federal nor local) to pay for abortions. H.R. 3351 limits the abortion funding prohibition to “federal” funds, allowing DC to use locally-generated funds to pay for abortions on demand.

From 2009 through part of 2011, the DC Hyde Amendment was weakened in the same way. During that period of time, D.C. paid for 300 abortions, as reported by the Associated Press. DC currently allows abortion for any reason before or after viability.

The Statement of Administration Policy states that President Trump’s advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 3351 in its present form. This commitment is consistent with the President’s veto commitment made in January.

H.R. 3351 retains other longstanding pro-life protections in the FSGG bill:

FEDERAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS Programs Funding Ban (SMITH)—ban on funding of abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, except in the instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

FEHBP CONSCIENCE PROTECTION—conscience protections for health care personnel and providers

DC CONSCIENCE INTENT OF CONGRESS—intent of Congress that any DC imposed contraceptive mandate should include a conscience clause.

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