House Conservatives Seek to Root Out Support for Abortion Industry

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler — whose own first child is a living “miracle” — is helping lead the charge.

On May 8, 2019, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R.-Wash., spoke in a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee. She is pictured at an earlier House hearing in 2019. On May 8, Beutler addressed a pro-life amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2020.

By Josh Shepherd Published on May 16, 2019

Despite opposition from those in power, several pro-life leaders in the U.S. House are working to make the protection of lives in the womb a priority issue.

They include Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who spoke up last Wednesday in the House Appropriations Committee. The powerful body determines funding for each government priority, before bills are voted on by the full House.

Separately, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R.-Mo., of the House Values Action Team is leading 122 Members of Congress in an effort to determine how taxpayer funds are currently entangled with the abortion industry.

In the committee hearing, both sides clashed over figures in the HHS bill. Every inch of desk space seemed filled with spreadsheets and funding paperwork. When pregnant mother Beutler stood, she shared a personal experience to direct attention higher than dollar amounts.

“I was told that there was a one hundred percent chance that my baby would die,” said Beutler, referring to her firstborn child. “It was true. No baby had ever survived what my first child had. She didn’t have kidneys.”

 

 

In 2012, Beutler and her husband went public with the diagnosis. Then a stranger reached out, knowing of an experimental treatment.

A doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. was willing to try it. It led to what ABC News called a “miracle” — the first baby born without kidneys.

“My six year-old girl, she’d love to be here today and cause a lot of chaos,” said Beutler to her colleagues in Congress. “She has an amazing, full adult life ahead of her, and now other babies do too.”

The Fight to End Birth Day Abortions

Since January, pro-life members of the U.S. House have faced an uphill battle. Democrats have retaken the majority following 2018 election results. Now pro-life Republican leaders have fewer options to introduce bills or prioritize their issues.

The appropriations hearing last Wednesday included discussion of multiple amendments related to the most vulnerable lives. Rep. Andy Harris, R.-Md., introduced an amendment to ban the sale of fetal tissue.

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Congresswoman Beutler spoke after Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., introduced an amendment regarding born-alive protections. The policy would hold government agencies accountable to “ensure that they do not allow a baby born alive following an abortion to suffer and die.”

The Cole Amendment is a similar policy to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. That bill has been the subject of an ongoing discharge petition effort.

Since February 7, the House Pro-Life Caucus has tried to coalesce a coalition of members large enough to overrule Speaker Nancy Pelosi and allow a vote on the pro-life policy. So far, the Democratic majority has blocked a vote 42 times on the bill.

On February 25, a similar bill failed in a 53-44 vote of the U.S. Senate.

“It’s a reasonable solution that a majority of Americans, pro-choice or not, agree with.”

Beutler stated the Cole Amendment has public support. A Rasmussen poll released March 14 noted 69 percent of U.S. voters favor a law requiring medical care for infants that survive an attempted abortion.

Democratic members objected that it would affect current abortion policy, which Beutler addressed. “This is simply going to apply the law of the land,” said Beutler. “If you’re anybody born on American soil in a hospital or health care facility, you have the right to that protection.

“It’s a reasonable solution that a majority of Americans, pro-choice or not, agree with.”

Follow the Money

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are pursuing transparency as a strategy to disentangle taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler

Rep. Vicky Hartzler

A coalition led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler is requesting new data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for this purpose.

“We must shine a bright light on how every federal dollar is allocated,” said Rep. Pete Olsen, R.-Tex., who co-sponsored the letter.

“Americans deserve to know how much of their tax dollars go to organizations that perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood. This report will provide needed transparency on taxpayer funding for groups that promote or perform abortions.”

Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) provides up-to-date analysis on issues of human life and ethics. Last year, their research team combined data from the GAO report with information from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report.

CLI then released eye-opening analysis on both domestic abortion funding and international organizations.

Notably, the Hartzler coalition letter represents 122 Members of Congress including 29 U.S. Senators.

The only Democratic member on the letter is Rep. Dan Lipinski, D.-Ill. A stalwart pro-life advocate who spoke at the March for Life in January, Lipinski will face another pro-choice challenger during his 2020 race.

“The information sought in this inquiry is instrumental for policymakers and the public alike,” states the letter. “Proper oversight of public funds is crucial for determining the value of [programs] funded by the American taxpayer.”

A spokesperson for Congresswoman Hartzler confirmed that work on the updated GAO report has started.

 

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