Human life is precious and often taken for granted in today’s society. Never was this more apparent than during our uphill battle against the overhaul of our health care system. We supported the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ensure that federal restrictions on taxpayer-funded abortions remain in place. Sadly, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other Democrats abandoned this initiative and accepted the empty promises in President Obama’s Executive Order.
Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) has since introduced the Protect Life Act (H.R. 5939), to codify the provisions of the Stupak-Pitts amendment and Fred and I are proud cosponsors of that legislation. As chairman of Energy and Commerce, Fred will move quickly to enact this legislation into law. President Obama has claimed that he supports this policy. Let’s give him a chance to prove it by sending this legislation to his desk. Executive orders come and go but this legislation will provide permanent protection for unborn children and the taxpayers who recoil at the prospect of financing their destruction.
In addition to the Stupak-Pitts amendment, I am a proud original cosponsor of Congressman Chris Smith’s No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 5939). This legislation will prevent taxpayer support of abortions in any health care plan or facility that receives federal funds. This legislation has been referred to several House committees, including Energy and Commerce.
I have been an original cosponsor of legislation to prohibit human cloning for both reproductive purposes and medical research. In addition, the legislation would expand an existing law “conscience clause” that protects physician training programs that refuse to provide training for abortion procedures. Unfortunately, this legislation has been blocked by the current chairman of Energy and Commerce.
In recent years, we have witnessed incredible advances involving adult stem cell research. We have established a nationwide network to collect umbilical cord blood and the placenta from childbirths, which is promising in treating leukemia and sickle cell anemia. Scientists have successfully reprogrammed ordinary skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells that can become any type of tissue found in the human body. These exciting breakthroughs offer the promise of moving beyond the divisive debate over embryonic stem cell research.
One of the many tragic consequences of the new health care law is that it will inevitably lead to the rationing of health care. Unelected and unaccountable appointees will make “quality of life” decisions that ignore the fundamental principle that all human life is sacred and deserving of protection. We cannot allow this to happen. This law must be repealed and replaced with solutions built on a foundation of respect for individual choice and the sanctity of human life.
Congressman Upton is committed to all of these principles, has voted for the above bills and stands with the American people in defending life. As Committee chairman, I am confident that Fred would put preventing taxpayers from paying for abortions at top priority, along with leading House Republicans in the effort to repeal the health care law and replace it with true reform.
I look forward to serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee under the sound leadership of Congressman Fred Upton as we work to restore constitutional principles and sound practices in the provision of health care services. The American people have spoken, and we must now roll up our sleeves and get to work. We are humbled by the trust they have placed in us, and will not let them down.