- (Photo: Congressman Trent Franks press photo)
A bill that calls for a permanent ban on federal funding of abortions is making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives.
H.R. 7, which if enacted would amend Title 1 of the United States Code, was given a hearing Thursday held by Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks.
"No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for any abortion," reads H.R. 7 in part.
"Any reference to funds appropriated by Federal law shall be treated as including any amounts within the budget of the District of Columbia that have been approved by Act of Congress pursuant to section 446 of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act … ."
Titled the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act", H.R. 7 has garnered the support of pro-life groups like Americans United for Life, which sent out a letter to House Republicans in support of the bill.
Ovide Lamontagne, general counsel for AUL, told The Christian Post why his organization supported the proposed legislation.
"We think it is important to codify in federal statute the public policy expressed over the past 35 years beginning with the Hyde Amendment that federal tax dollars should not be used to fund abortion," said Lamontagne.
Lamontagne also told CP that he believed most Americans opposed federal funding of abortion "either directly or indirectly" and that H.R. 7 has a good chance of passing.
"I believe this bill will pass the House. If Senate Majority Leader Reid allows the bill to be heard by the U.S. Senate and if it reaches the floor for a vote, I believe it would pass," said Lamontagne.
Introduced by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey last May, H.R. 7 has 147 cosponsors, including three Democrats.
Last June, H.R. 7 was referred to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, which held the hearing Thursday.
The bill has been criticized by some Democrats, including Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, for allegedly depriving women in the District of Columbia of proper health care coverage for necessary abortions.
Susan Wood, associate professor of health policy at George Washington University, told Tara Culp-Ressler of the pro-choice group Think Progress that she opposed H.R. 7.
"Because of these new attacks on abortion coverage, we have the opportunity to talk about women across the spectrum of income," said Wood.
"60 percent of women of reproductive age have private health insurance, and this is now going to affect their access to high-quality health insurance that includes abortion coverage."