‘Off-the-Wall Abortion Policies’ Are Actually Common Sense

'Off-the-Wall Abortion Policies' Are Actually Common Sense

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Pro-choice Republicans in Congress are back. What had become a dying breed in the past couple of years, Republicans who consistently vote against basic pro-life protections have taken the House appropriations process hostage.

This group of about eight to 10 Republicans have now helped to sink two appropriations bills over policies that are commonsense solutions to the government’s increasingly pro-abortion priorities.

One of the leading voices of this pro-choice bloc, Rep. John Duarte, R-Calif., said, “We’re just sick of every appropriations bill being a vehicle for some off-the-wall abortion policy.”

Let’s unpack what these “off-the-wall abortion policies” actually are.

The policy in question that this group decided in this case was a red line in voting for the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill is a policy rider that would have repealed the District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act. That measure, which passed the D.C. Council in 2014, can be used to force even religious and pro-life employers to provide coverage of elective abortions. The language is very similar to what the Biden administration recently used in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to mandate abortion accommodations for all employers with 15 or more employees.

Immediately after the 2014 D.C. law was passed, congressional Republicans pushed back, voting time after time to repeal the law. In 2015, the House passed a disapproval resolution to repeal the policy 228-192 and as recently as 2019 passed a Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill 240-188 with similar language.

Then-House Speaker John Boehner and his successor, Paul Ryan, were both able to pass legislation with bipartisan support repealing that law, and yet pro-choice Republicans in the current 118th Congress think it’s too controversial.

The agriculture appropriations bill ended up failing on the House floor in September due in part because of this group’s opposition to a policy rider regulating chemical abortions.

The language in question would simply undo Biden’s actions to remove existing health and safety protocols that ensure every woman who is prescribed chemical abortion pills receives them in person from a medical professional rather than through the mail or from a pharmacy.

Ironically, these health and safety protocols that Republicans are seeking to reinstate in this bill are the ones first established in 2016 under the Obama-Biden administration.

Now, contrast House Republican attitudes on pro-life riders in the 118th Congress with that of House Democrats’ posture toward pro-abortion measures in the 117th Congress, which they controlled.

In 2021, the House of Representatives for the first time since 1976 passed a Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill without the Hyde Amendment. That bill passed with unanimous support from every Democrat.

Had that bill been signed into law and the Hyde Amendment repealed, it would have eliminated a policy that is estimated to have saved more than 2.5 million unborn lives. And yet every single House Democrat voted for that massively consequential policy change.

From prohibiting federal funding for abortion to protecting the conscience rights of health care professionals, policy riders are the premier way in which federal pro-life policy is made.

These policy riders have had strong bipartisan support over the years. It’s a little-known fact that the Hyde Amendment, which first passed in 1976, did so only because large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate overrode then-President Gerald Ford’s veto of the fiscal 1977 Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

In essence, the Hyde Amendment would not exist, nor would have been maintained for more than 40 years were it not for congressional Democrats.

So, while today’s congressional Democrats have recently marched in lockstep to repeal those long-standing pro-life policies, one would think that congressional Republicans would be equally as united to protect and advance pro-life policies through the appropriations process.

Instead, this bloc of pro-choice Republicans have created a strategy to take each appropriations bill, look at the array of pro-life policies (many of which have been passed numerous times by Republican majorities), pick one and call it a red line to passing the bill.

When confronted on the substance of why they oppose these pro-life policies, the best these pro-choice members can come up with is that people are fed up with abortion regulations.

If that were true, then why are those same members opposed to repealing a law that places regulatory burdens on pro-life employers in D.C.; why do they not support stopping the federal government from funding the abortion industry; and why are they opposed to reinstituting Obama-era regulations on chemical abortions?

Until the supposedly pro-life party in Congress is able to unite around the most basic and fundamental policies to eliminate pro-abortion government regulations and to stop the federal government from underwriting the abortion industry’s bottom line, then semantics over messaging and political ads will mean nothing.

The Democratic Party stands proudly for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand at any point in pregnancy. What does the Republican Party stand for? The pro-life movement is awaiting an answer.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.