By Lindsey Hudson, Intern for Concerned Women for America’s Government Relations
Last week, the Democrat majority of the House Committee on Appropriations advanced several fiscal year (FY) 2021 spending bills brimming with anti-life provisions. To Republicans’ dismay, appropriators rejected amendments to four major spending bills to restore these measures, and the bills were passed out of committee along party lines.
The Democrat FY2021 State Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill which funds international programs eliminated President Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy. It weakened language of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which in turn would allow the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to receive more U.S. financial aid. Both are especially critical to preserve. Here’s why:
The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy prohibits foreign nongovernmental organizations from performing or promoting abortions to ensure that given U.S. funds are not being channeled towards overseas abortions. The Kemp-Kasten Amendment prevents funds going to entities that actively support or participate in coercive abortions. Moreover, it is a means through which the President is able to divert funding away from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which engaged in the Chinese population control program.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama), warned the Committee of the consequence of attacking pro-life policy:
“President Trump has made his intention very clear. [In his 2019 letter to Speaker Pelosi, the President wrote], ‘I will veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life Federal policies and laws …’”
SFOPS Subcommittee Ranking Member, Hal Rodgers (R-Kentucky) offered an amendment to restore the pro-life policies and remove the problematic language of the bill. Despite Republican efforts, the Rodgers’ amendment was shot down by a vote of 21-29.
Pro-life policy attacks also succeeded in the Democrat’s FY2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) which passed by a vote of 30 to 22. It eradicates the Trump administration’s regulations guarding against taxpayer funding of abortion, including changes to Section 1557 of Obamacare, the Title X Protect Life Rule, and the Conscience Protection Rule. These crucial regulations were put in place to shield human life, as well as safeguard religious liberty.
Section 1557 ensures that health care providers under Obamacare are not required to provide and pay for abortions. Title X’s Protect Life Rule redirects tax dollars away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, only allowing funds for family planning that does not include abortion. The Conscience Protection Rule ensures security for health care organizations that do not wish to participate in abortions, sterilizations, or assisted suicides.
An effort by Rep. Tom Cole’s (R-Oklahoma) to restore these measures was rejected on a party-line vote.
The Democrat’s anti-life agenda was pushed further in the FY2021 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill. While the bill retains certain pro-life measures in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, the D.C. Hyde Amendment is altered to permit local funds towards abortions in the District of Columbia. Once again, Rep. Aderholt sought to reinstate the longstanding D.C. Hyde Amendment, but it was voted down by Democrats on a voice vote.
Lastly, the FY2021 Defense Appropriations bill was passed, again on a party-line vote of 30 to 22. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) made a noble attempt to apply the protections of the Born Alive Abortions Survivors Protection Act to the TRICARE program which provides health care to military service members and their families. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) made a strong appeal to the Democrat side of the aisle:
“When a baby has left a mother’s womb, it is not part of her body … This baby is already here … You’re not throwing your belief about being pro-choice out the window by saying, ‘Once a baby is here, we’re going to protect it.’”
Rep. Harris’s amendment to block TRICARE funding for any health care provider failing to administer life-saving care to babies born alive from attempted abortions gained the support of two committee Democrats but failed by a vote of 24 to 28.
The Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee should be applauded for standing firm, speaking up, and being consistent on their pro-life position. Longstanding pro-life language was maintained within the appropriations bills’ text, including the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Abortion Funding Ban. Unfortunately, the road ahead on the House floor does not look promising as the Democrat majority appears determined to undo the progress the Trump Administration has worked hard to advance to protect life.