House Votes to Eliminate Taxpayer-Funded Abortion in Healthcare Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2011
Contact: Ciara Matthews, (202) 630-7067, cmatthews@sba-list.org

Further Proof Against Former Rep. Steve Driehaus’ Defamation Suit

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Protect Life Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) which would amend the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by prohibiting federal funding of abortion or abortion coverage under the health care law. The Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide pro-life organization, applauded the overwhelming support the bill received.

“Since the debate on the Affordable Care Act first began, the pro-life movement has been urging Congress to pass legislation that would specifically prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for abortions,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List. “The House’s approval of such legislation today is further evidence that Obama’s health care law would in fact allow for taxpayer funding of abortion; we are now one step closer to making that a thing of the past.”

Dannenfelser, while praising the passage of the Protect Life Act through the House, claims it is further evidence supporting the organization’s position in an ongoing lawsuit.

In October 2010, then-Congressman Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) sued the Susan B. Anthony List for defamation after the organization launched a campaign to educate voters about the meaning of Driehaus’ vote in favor of PPACA. The organization claimed the bill would allow for federal funds to be used for abortions since language was not included in the bill to prohibit such funding. Initially, Driehaus agreed with SBA List and committed to voting against the bill. Then, after President Obama promised to issue a non-binding Executive Order, which Driehaus claimed addressed abortion funding, he changed his vote.

“For more than a year, SBA List has been fighting a lawsuit, brought by Congressman Driehaus claiming that we caused him ‘loss of livelihood’ by drawing attention to his vote for federal funding of abortion,” explained Dannenfelser. “Given that 251 members of Congress voted in favor of the Protect Life Act, specifically in order to remove the PPACA’s federal funding of abortion that Steve Driehaus claims is non-existent, all of these members must thereby also be guilty of defamation.”

During debate of the bill, a number of members of congress expressed their concerns that the Affordable Care Act does allow for taxpayer funding of abortion.

“Despite liberal claims, ObamaCare does not prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to take unborn human life.  President Obama’s Executive Order can be revoked at any time by this or another occupant of the White House,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in a statement released today.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R- Tenn.) stated on the House floor, “We all know that the Obamacare bill allows for both the implicit and explicit taxpayer funding of abortion and we all know that the Executive Order signed by the President is not worth the paper it was written on. It repeats the account[ing] gimmick that allows federal subsidies to go to insurance plans that cover abortion. That’s why we need to pass the Protect Life Act which would apply the principles of the Hyde amendment to every component of Obamacare.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R- NJ), while arguing that the Hyde Amendment, which many Democrats say already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, stated that the Amendment only applies to discretionary spending, “Thus ObamaCare, when phased in fully in November 2014, will open up the floodgates of public funding for abortion in a myriad of programs, including and especially in exchanges, resulting in more dead babies and wounded mothers than would otherwise have been the case.”

“If the House, including 15 Democrats, didn’t believe the PPACA’s result is taxpayer funding of abortion, there would be no need for this bill at all,” said Dannenfelser.

The Susan B. Anthony List is a nationwide network of more than 330,000 Americans dedicated to mobilizing, advancing, and representing pro-life women in politics.  Its connected Candidate Fund increases the percentage of pro-life women in the political process. 

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