Saturday, October 10, 2020

House COVID-19 relief bill allows funds for abortion

On October 1, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 925, also known as “The Heroes Act,” by a vote of 214-207.

Division K, Title VIII, Section 801 states that, both in this bill and portions of past COVID-19 relief bills signed into law, no person shall be “excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination… based on any factor … such as… pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions…”.

“Related medical conditions” has been recognized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and courts as a reference to abortion. If adopted, this provision could override Hyde protections that apply to provisions in this bill and override Hyde protections in past COVID-19-related legislation.

DIVISION A — Coronavirus Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021

Title V — Financial Services and General Government: The Heroes Act provides $257 billion to the coronavirus state relief fund and $179 billion to the coronavirus local relief fund. These funds are to be used to cover costs incurred as a result of COVID-19. There is no restriction preventing this open-ended funding stream from being used to further subsidize the abortion industry.

DIVISION E — Small Business Provisions

Title I — Modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program: The CARES Act (H.R. 748) provided funding for federally-guaranteed, forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). H.R. 748 applied the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rules to determine whether applicants qualified for this assistance. Abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which has 16,000 employees nationwide, exceeded the 500-employee small business threshold.

The Heroes Act allows nonprofits with more than 500 employees to receive PPP funds if they can document a 25% decline in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19. This change may make it possible for Planned Parenthood abortion clinics to access some of the PPP funding.

DIVISION F — Revenue Provisions

Subtitle E — Credits For Paid Sick And Family Leave: H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, included tax credits for paid sick and family leave. Through this credit, taxpayers subsidize the cost of health insurance that may include elective abortion.

The Heroes Act extends the tax credit through the end of February 2021. It allows employers to claim up to $12,000 in tax credits (rather than $10,000). It also allows federal, state, and local governments to participate in these tax credits. No Hyde protections are included with these changes.

This may not be a comprehensive list of pro-life problems in the legislation.

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