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PA Delegation Mostly Supports New Limits on Abortion Funding

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

A bipartisan majority of Pennsylvania’s delegation in Congress voted for a bill that adds new limits on abortion and its funding.

H.R 3, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, prohibits the expenditure of funds authorized or appropriated by federal law for any abortion. It strengthens the Hyde amendment, a rider typically used to block federal funding of abortions, by turning into permanent law.

Proponents say it will formalize funding limits that most Americans support. Opponents argue that this bill goes beyond existing compromises and seeks to ban abortion indirectly.

In a statement boasting about his vote for the bill, Rep. Tom Marino said current law consists of a patchwork of riders to appropriations legislation or executive orders.

“Instead of relying on the whims of the annual appropriations process or any easily revocable order by the President, it is time to put into law the prohibition against using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions,” Marino said.

The bill also withholds health care subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortions, which critics argue will lead to an indirect ban of all abortions.

Rep. Mike Doyle voted against H.R. 3, saying the bill goes too far.

“I oppose abortion, and I oppose federal funding for abortion – but federal law already prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion,” said Rep. Doyle.  “This is a huge step beyond restricting federal funding for abortion – it would limit how Americans spend their OWN money and deny American women access to a full range of health care services, and I can’t support that.  That is why I voted against H.R. 3.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out press releases criticizing votes in favor of the bill by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Meehan.

In their, “zeal to restrict women’s health care, today he voted to place new restrictions on how women with private insurance can spend private dollars in purchasing their own health insurance,” read the release. “This is yet another example that [Fitzpatrick and Meehan]’s agenda is about advancing right-wing social issues rather than creating jobs.”

It’s too early to tell how the issue will play back home, but it would seem that Republicans have the upper hand in the messaging battle in Pennsylvania.

All of Pennsylvania’s Republican delegation voted in favor of the bill, and more PA Democrats voted for it than Democrats from any other state. Reps. Jason Altmire, Mark Critz and Tim Holden all voted for the proposal.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 251 – 175, mostly on partisan lines. All 235 Republicans in Congress voted aye, while Democrats voted 16 – 175 against it.

Even the scope of opponents’ criticism would suggest an advantage for the GOP.

Reps. Barletta, Dent, Gerlach, Kelly and Marino typically are among members of the delegation who bear the brunt of DCCC criticism, but not on this issue. Instead the DCCC’s releases focused only on Fitzpatrick and Meehan, who represent socially moderate districts in the Philadelphia suburbs.

2 Responses

  1. Meehan’s vote for HR 3 and the essential redefinition of “rape” is just the next step in his continued assault on women’s health in the Seventh District. Many constituents are just embarrassed at this point. Meehan ran as a moderate, a position which he abandoned as soon as he was elected.

  2. The men who voted for this disgraceful bill are exhibit number one in why pa needs to elect more WOMEN!
    This novel theory of the fungibility of $ to control private funds and private actions is a dangerous, authoritarian doctrine.

    Beware folks-will they try to extend this to abrogate your rights as well?

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