The U.S. House of Representatives passed its first major pro-life bill of the new year on Tuesday, one which would solidify in law the current policy of no federal funding of abortions.
The bill would “protect Americans’ conscience rights by ensuring that their hard-earned tax dollars are not used to fund the destruction of innocent life,” Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said on the House Floor before the vote.
Federal funding for abortion is largely prohibited under the 40-year-old Hyde Amendment, named after its original sponsor Rep. Henry Hyde. However, that amendment has to be passed by Congress every year as a “rider” to appropriations bills, clarifying that the taxpayer dollars cannot abortions.
The amendment enjoyed decades of bipartisan support. The most recent Democratic National Committee platform, however, called for its repeal.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, passed Tuesday by a 238-183 vote and sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would solidify this policy in law, so that it does not need to be annually reapproved by Congress.
It would expand on current protections against taxpayer funding of abortion to other areas, such as federal employee health plans. It would also extend to the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that no federal subsidies fund abortion coverage in plans offered on the exchanges.
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