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Bailing out abortion businesses

The COVID-19 relief bill could allow taxpayer money to fund abortions


Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to break the tie on a procedural vote in the Senate on Thursday. Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

Bailing out abortion businesses

The House passed a $1.9 trillion relief bill this weekend that would allow the government to fund abortions with taxpayer dollars. Past COVID-19 rescue packages included language prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions and preventing abortion giant Planned Parenthood from receiving small business loans. But the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan of 2021 includes no such protections. The bill will likely pass the Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. The chamber is spending Friday working through a series of amendments to the measure.

“This legislation is a Democrat wish-list containing numerous provisions aimed at propping up the abortion industry,” said Jennifer Popik, National Right to Life’s director of federal legislation. “This legislation could potentially funnel millions of dollars into programs without Hyde Amendment protections.”

Since 1977, the Hyde Amendment has prevented taxpayer dollars from directly funding abortions.

The relief bill expands the Obamacare program by increasing premium subsidies, which help Americans purchase private health plans that cover elective abortion, Popik said: “This will have the effect of driving large numbers of people into plans that cover abortion.”

The bill gives more than $300 billion to state and local governments to help with pandemic-related expenses. Without specific prohibitions, these state and local governments could put the funds toward abortion services. Some states already have a track record of designating the procedure as an essential service. The $204 million to the State Department and $500 million for pandemic-related humanitarian aid could also end up funding abortions overseas.

Another $50 million would go toward the Title X family planning program. Although Planned Parenthood left the program under the Trump administration because of a new rule excluding abortion providers, the Biden administration has already started the process of rescinding that restriction. Unlike previous COVID-19 packages, the new bill would also allow the abortion giant to access small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

More than 200 pro-life members of the House of Representatives last week proposed a change to apply the Hyde Amendment to the bill. But a committee declined to vote on the proposal. In a speech on Friday, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., noted President Joe Biden used to support these kinds of protections. “Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote in 1994.

Now, the president is pushing Democrats to quickly pass this bill that does just that.


Leah Hickman

Leah is a reporter for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Hillsdale College graduate. Leah resides in Cleveland, Ohio.

@leahmhickman

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