Wicker: bill would impose permanent restrictions on taxpayer-funded abortions

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

By U.S. Senator Roger Wicker

The annual March for Life in Washington has been defending the rights of the unborn and fighting for the reversal of Roe v. Wade for more than four decades.

This year’s march on January 27 comes on the heels of multiple policy items that could go a long way toward protecting life and keeping Americans’ taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.

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Congress Acts to Protect Public Funds From Abortion Practices

One of these items is my “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” with Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). This is the fourth Congress in which I have introduced a bill that would permanently prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions. Most Americans oppose this use of taxpayer dollars, and I believe the U.S. government should respect our moral and religious grounds for this opposition.

Typically, Congress prohibits federal dollars from funding abortions by attaching the Hyde Amendment to each annual appropriations bill. My bill would eliminate the need for this annual action. Rather than continuing a piecemeal approach, it would provide a government-wide restriction on using public funds for abortion once and for all.

My bill would also give Americans transparency when it comes to their health-care plans. Because some plans under Obamacare cover abortion services, consumers deserve to know whether their coverage includes these services.

Our legislation would require this information to be disclosed as long as Obamacare plans continue to be in effect.

Under the Trump Administration, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” has a chance to become law.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the legislation on January 24, and President Trump expressed his support for making the Hyde Amendment permanent during the campaign. Other pro-life measures have been introduced as well, including a bill by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to protect children born alive during an unsuccessful abortion procedure. I am an original cosponsor of that legislation.

President Trump Reinstates Pro-Life Mexico City Policy

Another policy recently issued to protect the value of human life is President Trump’s executive order prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortions overseas. On January 23, he reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prevents U.S. assistance from going to nongovernmental organizations around the world that perform or advocate abortions. The policy, first issued under President Reagan, was reversed during the Clinton and Obama administrations. A Marist poll shows that most Americans do not want public funds used for abortions in other countries.

Throughout my service at both the state and federal levels, I have fought to protect life and the religious liberty owed to all Americans under the Constitution. Using taxpayer dollars to fund a practice that violates the beliefs of so many Americans is wrong. Like many Mississippians, I believe that the millions of dollars that go to Planned Parenthood would be better spent on women’s health services in our local hospitals and community health centers. I will continue to vote my conscience on this issue and ensure Mississippians’ voices are heard.