The bill is H.R.3, and its chief sponsor is anti-choice Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). As Rep. Smith said, “The fact that it is designated as H.R. 3 speaks volumes about priorities.”
On this, we agree with Rep. Smith. The fact that the new anti-choice leadership in the House is making attacks on choice a priority speaks volumes—about just how out of touch these politicians are with our country’s priorities and values.
What’s more, the rhetoric these politicians use to advance H.R.3 is as out of touch with reality as their legislative agenda.
H.R.3 is listed under the deceptive title, "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” The bill’s alleged purpose is to stop federal funding of abortion care under the new health-care law, when in reality, the bill is an anti-choice attack that reaches far beyond public funding.
In fact, Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who is anti-choice, told NPR that the claim that the federal government currently funds abortion care is bogus.
"Both the federal court in Virginia and the Ohio Elections Commission determined that the claim that the [health law] funds abortion is false," Jost said.
So, what is H.R.3 about, then? We call Smith’s bill “Stupak on Steroids,” a because it goes even further than former Rep. Bart Stupak’s failed attempt to impose an abortion-coverage ban on the new health system. "Stupak on Steroids" is a very serious threat to women's access to abortion.
Most notably, “Stupak on Steroids” would force millions of American families to pay more taxes if their health plan covers abortion care, jeopardizing abortion coverage in the private market. Keep in mind, about 87 percent of insurance plans on the market currently offer abortion coverage.
Some might note the irony here that the very politicians who railed against government interference in our lives on the campaign trail now want to tell Americans what kind of insurance they can buy with their own money.
“Stupak on Steroids” does not stop with insurance interference. The bill includes other alarming examples of political intrusion into our personal, private decisions, from callous disregard for women in heart-breaking situations to an attack on local government:
- It would narrow the already severely limited rape and incest exceptions in the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion care. This new restriction would deny Medicaid coverage for abortion to survivors of statutory rape and any incest survivor who is 18 years of age or older.
- It would reimpose the ban on Washington, D.C.’s use of its own local funds for abortion for low-income women, an unfair restriction which Congress lifted in 2009, with the support of President Obama.
- It would permanently deny women in the military access to abortion care at overseas military hospitals, even if they pay for the service with their own money.
Alarmingly, “Stupak on Steroids” is just one of many anti-choice proposals on the horizon.
A bill written by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) would dismantle Title X, the country’s family-planning network, which provides basic health-care services, including birth control and cancer screenings. The Republican Study Committee called for the elimination of the Title X family planning programs—refusing to acknowledge that better access to birth control is one of the best ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and thereby reducing the need for abortion.
Best we can tell, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE assigning Reps. Smith, Pence and other allies to advance these attacks on choice the closest thing to a job this divisive agenda will produce.
Nancy Keenan is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.