Federal Showdown on Abortion

Ryan Hite, Jordan Henry, John and Andy Schlafly
07-26-2017

Despite the pro-life mandate by the electorate last November, federal taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood has continued with no end in sight, even after the shocking revelations of atrocities committed against the unborn by that organization. McConnell rushed through a continuing resolution in April that gave the pro-abortion side everything they wanted on the issue.

The House version to repeal and replace Obamacare, which passed on May 4, eliminated some of its worst parts and also prohibited the use of taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion under Obamacare. But senators are quietly attempting to remove that ban in the version they seek to pass by July 4.

As senators often do whenever the issue of abortion comes up, they try to deflect the issue to someone else to decide it for them. This time they outsourced the most important decision about the continuation of the Hyde Amendment to an unelected lawyer named Elizabeth MacDonough, who is the Senate parliamentarian.

The Senate can defer as much or as little as it likes to the parliamentarian. But the Senate leadership wants her to say that the Hyde Amendment cannot be part of a reconciliation bill and that it can be filibustered by the Democratic minority.

McConnell showed that he can override the filibuster when he wants to, as he did in obtaining confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The spectacle of McConnell and other Senate leaders trying to hide behind the skirt of an obscure parliamentarian to avoid voting on abortion is silly.

Obamacare, formally called the Affordable Care Act, subsidizes the purchase of health plans that cover abortion. But Americans are overwhelmingly against compelling taxpayers to subsidize abortion, which is not health care.

If Senate leaders think they will be able to avoid the issue of abortion by deferring to a parliamentarian, they are sorely mistaken. In September the money runs out and another continuing resolution will be required to avoid a government shutdown.

It was widely perceived on both sides of the aisle that Democrats walked all over Republicans in the last continuing resolution, not merely on abortion but on other issues, too. President Trump has vowed to avoid a repeat of that fiasco again this fall.

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