House Passes Pitts Bill to Block Abortion Funding
It’s a win for Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester) and pro-life advocates in Congress. The U.S. House passed Pitts’ bill to block federal funding for any health care plan that covers abortions.
Abortion rights supporters and some Democrats say the bill is a big step backward for women’s health and a sharp departure from Republican promises to focus on jobs and the economy.
In any case, the bill is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate and even less likely to be signed by President Barack Obama.
Reports the Washington Post:
The House on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit federal funds from going toward any health care plan that covers abortion services, marking the chamber’s passage of its first major abortion-rights measure since May.
The vote came shortly after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak addressed a joint meeting of Congress.
In addition to blocking federal funding of health care plans that cover abortion services, the bill, authored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and known as the “Protect Life Act,” would prevent funds from being withheld from health care institutions that are opposed to providing abortions.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced the planned vote in a speech at last week’s Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of more than 3,000 social conservatives in Washington.
But this week, there was little fanfare surrounding the measure; both Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not mention it in their weekly remarks to reporters, instead focusing their comments on President Obama’s jobs bill, which was blocked by Senate Republicans earlier this week.
On Thursday, Democrats criticized both the substance of the legislation as well as the decision by House Republican leaders to move the bill to the floor as a “waste of time” that otherwise could have been spent on jobs measures.
“It’s appalling,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a Thursday morning news conference, arguing that “women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene if this bill is passed.”
“America’s families deserve better than this and again, today is another example of a wasted opportunity instead of taking up even an aspect of the president’s jobs bill that could create jobs,” she continued. “I can’t even describe to you the logic of what they are doing.”