(CNSNews.com) – The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would set as permanent law the prohibition against taxpayer funding for abortion – except in cases or rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk -- which is usually attached to congressional appropriations through the Hyde Amendment each year.
HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” bans federal funding of abortion; disallows tax benefits for paying for an abortion; prohibits taxpayer funding of federal health care services and those in the District of Columbia that include abortion; and directs the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate any violation of the law through the implementation of Obamacare.
The law also protects from employment-discrimination those health care professionals who are morally opposed to promoting or performing abortions.
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a family practitioner for 34 years, said “the taking of innocent life is not health care” at a press conference held before the bill was debated on the House floor and passed on a 271-175 vote late Wednesday afternoon.
“The other thing I’d like to drive home to you is the fact that it seems that those who support elective abortions believe that somehow the fetus is an extension of the mother,” Fleming said. “That this is, perhaps, just a matter of removing a bump or a lump or even an amputation.”
“But I can tell you as a physician, as a scientist, that the DNA blueprint for that fetus is unique in history,” Fleming said. “There never has been nor will there ever be an individual like that, that is losing his life that day.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced HR 3 in January and 227 House members signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Smith said the bill would “protect the child in the womb from the insidious violence of abortion,” and protect women from the emotional damage undergoing the procedure can cause.
Democrats spoke out against the legislation, including Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In her speech on the House floor, Pelosi called the bill “decisive and radical.”
“This bill will deny tax credits for women who buy the type of health insurance that they currently have – health insurance that covers a full range of reproductive care,” Pelosi said. “As a result of this bill, millions of women would no longer have access to insurance policies that cover all reproductive services.”
Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) also spoke on the House floor, calling the bill a “reckless piece of legislation.”
The battle now shifts to the Senate where a companion bill is expected to be introduced on Thursday by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Smith acknowledged the obstacles faced in getting a similar bill passed in the Democratically controlled Senate and a final version signed into law by President Barack Obama who, Smith said, is “unfortunately” “an abortion president.”
The Hyde Amendment, created in 1976, is attached each year to the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services, and it prevents any program under HHS, such as Medicaid, from paying for abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is at risk.