Sean Duffy on Abortion
I am a strict constructionist. Our Constitution is not a "living, breathing document" to be interpreted to meet the political goals of any particular jurist. Judicial activism undermines representative democracy.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Fortenberry, R-NE]: Americans deserve to know how the government spends their money, and they are right to refuse the use of their tax dollars for highly controversial activities--in this case, abortion. Abortion harms women. It takes the lives of children, and it allows a man to escape his responsibility. The abortion industry many times profits from all of this pain. We can and must do better as a society, and at a minimum, taxpayer dollars should not be involved. This issue has manifested itself most intently during the health care debate. Unless a prohibition is enacted, taxpayers will fund abortion under the framework of the new health care law. Abortion is not health care.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY]: H.R. 3 is actually dangerous for women's health. By refusing to provide any exceptions to women who are facing serious health conditions--cancer, heart or whatever that may be--you are forcing women to choose to risk their health or to risk bankruptcy, and I think that is morally unacceptable. Under H.R. 3, a woman facing cancer who needs to terminate a pregnancy in order to live might have to go into debt over the $10,000 that the legal and necessary procedure could cost. Despite having both health insurance and tax-preferred savings accounts, this bill would prevent her from having that.
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Congressional Summary: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011: Imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to:
Sponsor's Letter (Rep. Trent Franks):PRENDA restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The woman seeking an abortion is exempted from prosecution, while abortion providers are held to account.
Opponents' Opinion (Erin Gloria Ryan on jezebel.com):Rep. Franks, a white man, has claimed that his desire to disallow "race-selective abortions" is based on his concern that the black community is having so many abortions. He doesn't say how, exactly, doctors are supposed to determine that a black woman seeking an abortion is doing so because her fetus would be black or whether she's just doing it because she doesn't want to be pregnant. Let's be honest here: this isn't really about saving girls and minorities; it's about eventually making abortion illegal. A sex-selection ban would present the Supreme Court with a dilemma: it dares the pro-abortion justices to embrace an abortion right to kill girls for being girls.
Congressional Summary:Prohibits providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity unless the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion. Excludes an abortion where: (1) the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or an act of incest against a minor; or (2) a physician certifies that the woman suffered from a physical disorder, injury, or illness that would place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed.
Wikipedia Explanation:Title X of the Public Health Service Act, titled "Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs" is a US government program dedicated to providing family planning services for those in need. Title X provides access to contraceptive services, supplies and information. Priority for services is given to persons of low-income.
Sponsor Remarks by Rep. Mike Pence:It is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion. Last year, Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants; and performed an unprecedented 324,008 abortions. The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X. The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act will prevent any family planning funds under Title X from going to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that perform abortions. It will ensure that abortion providers are not being subsidized with federal tax dollars.
OnTheIssues Explanation: Federal money is never explicitly provided for abortions. But Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, paid for via private funds. At issue is the "fungibility" of money: Planned Parenthood can use federal funds to supplement their budget and hence free up other funds for abortion. This bill would end that practice.
Prohibits providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion. Excludes an abortion where:
Heritage Action Summary: The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R.7) would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal taxpayer funding of abortion and health benefits plans that include coverage of abortion, as well as prevent federal tax dollars from being entangled in abortion coverage under ObamaCare.
ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (1/22/2015): We urge voting against H.R. 7. The legislation is broad and deeply troubling and the ACLU opposes it [because] H.R. 7 would make discriminatory restrictions that harm women's health permanent law. The bill singles out and excludes abortion from a host of programs that fulfill the government's obligation to provide health care to certain populations. Women who rely on the government for their health care do not have access to a health care service readily available to women of means and women with private insurance. The government should not discriminate in this way. It should not use its power of the purse to intrude on a woman's decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.
Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (11/10/2009): President Obama's approach to health care reform--forcing taxpayers to subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans--cannot not change the status quo on abortion. Either those taxpayer dollars will fund abortions, or the restrictions necessary to prevent taxpayer funding will curtail access to private abortion coverage. There is no middle ground.
Thus both sides' fears are justified. Both sides of the abortion debate are learning why government should not subsidize health care.
Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 242-179-12; never came to a vote in the Senate.
Heritage Action Summary: This legislation will protect unborn children by preventing abortions five months after fertilization, at which time scientific evidence suggests the child can feel pain.
ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to House of Representatives, 6/18/2013): The ACLU urges you to vote against the misleadingly-captioned "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," which would ban abortion care starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy. H.R. 1797 [2013 version of H.R.36 in 2015] is part of a wave of ever-more extreme legislation attempting to restrict a woman's right to make her own decision about whether or not to continue a pregnancy. We have seen state after state try to take these decisions away from women and their families; H.R. 1797 would do the same nationwide. We oppose H.R. 1797 because it interferes in a woman's most personal, private medical decisions. H.R. 1797 bans abortions necessary to protect a woman's health, no matter how severe the situation. H.R. 1797 would force a woman and her doctor to wait until her condition was terminal to finally act to protect her health, but by then it may be too late. This restriction is not only cruel, it is blatantly unconstitutional.
Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (2/2/2011): Pro-lifers herald a breakthrough law passed by the Nebraska legislature on Oct. 15, 2010: the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibits abortion after 20 weeks gestation except when the mother has a condition which so "complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function." Versions of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act are [being] introduced in a number of state legislatures.
Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 242-184-6; never came to a vote in the Senate.
S.311/H.R.962: Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: Congress finds the following:
Opposing argument from Rewire.com, "Born Alive Propaganda," by Calla Hales, 4/12/2019: From restrictive bans at various points of pregnancy to a proposed death penalty for seeking care, both federal and state legislators are taking aim at abortion rights. The goal? To make abortion illegal, criminalizing patients and providers in the process. One kind of bill making a recent resurgence is the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act." These bills aim to further the false narrative that abortions regularly occur immediately before or, according to the president, at the time of birth. Intentional action to end the life of an infant is already illegal. This is covered by federal and state infanticide laws. These bills do nothing but vilify physicians who provide reproductive health care.
Legislative outcome Referred to Committee in House; Senate motion to proceed rejected, 56-41-3 (60 required).
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