House Democrats push for taxpayer funding of abortion industry in COVID-19 relief bill

US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on February 4, 2021.
US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on February 4, 2021. | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

A pro-life group is slamming congressional Democrats for working to include abortion-related provisions in the forthcoming coronavirus relief package.

The Susan B. Anthony List said in a press release Wednesday that Democrats in the United States House of Representatives planned on “using the reconciliation process to force taxpayers to fund abortion businesses in the COVID-19 relief bill.”

In an interview with The Christian Post, Mallory Quigley, the SBA List’s vice president of communications, explained that “the way that reconciliation works is, they’ve got a funding bill in the Senate and then a funding bill in the House and then they’ll have to come together and agree.”

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Unlike most legislation, which requires 60 votes to pass in the Senate, the reconciliation process, which is “supposed to be specifically for appropriations and for funding,” allows legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority. Democrats now control the Senate with a narrow 50-50 majority, as Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the tie-breaking vote. The reconciliation process can only be used once per year.

Proposals introduced by Democrats include: “$750 million for global health activities and billions in funding for community health centers without applying the Hyde Amendment” —which forbids the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions — and a “$50 million increase in funding for the Title X program.”

The pro-life group warned that “On the heels of President Biden’s order rolling back President Trump’s Protect Life Rule, Title X would once again become a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.”

In addition to the aforementioned proposals and a push to grant small business funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, Democrats plan to include “expansions of taxpayer-funded abortion via Obamacare and a new initiative that would fund abortion-covering COBRA insurance” in the coronavirus relief bill.

According to Quigley, the fight to keep Democrats from including pro-abortion provisions in the coronavirus relief package is ongoing.

The battle is now taking place inside committees in the House. Should the provisions make it out of committee and onto the House floor, they will likely pass, given the Democrats’ narrow majority in the lower chamber. Unlike in the Senate, bills can pass the House with a simple majority.

Efforts to include pro-abortion provisions as part of a coronavirus relief package could stall in the Senate. 

“When the committee markups finish and the final House bill goes back to the Senate, the Senate committees will also have a markup period,” Quigley told CP.

“Then, the parliamentarian will need to rule on if everything in the bill is germane under the reconciliation process (the Byrd Rule). So there will be a chance at that point that anything the House added that relates to policy and is not budgetary could be taken out.”

At that point, “Democrats would then have the option to ‘go nuclear,’ break their own Senate rules and ignore the parliamentarian,” she added. 

The Susan B. Anthony List has already launched a campaign thanking Joe Manchin, a pro-life Democrat who represents West Virginia in the Senate, for vowing to oppose his party’s efforts to invoke the nuclear option by abolishing the filibuster. An attempt to pass a coronavirus package with the pro-abortion provisions or abolish the filibuster will likely require Manchin’s support.

Should Democrats find a way to keep the pro-abortion provisions in the coronavirus relief package using the reconciliation process, the bill's fate would depend on the votes of a few key senators.

“While Joe Manchin has promised to stand in line on anything that would directly attack Hyde, I don’t know what that would mean for how he would vote on a bill” that did not directly have to do with the Hyde Amendment, Quigley said.

Complicating the Senate math further is the fact that “There are pro-abortion Republicans from Maine and Alaska who aren’t generally concerned about the taxpayer funding of abortion,” she added. The senators Quigley was referring to were Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“Emboldened by [President] Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Democrats in Congress want to force taxpayers to bail out the abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement. “House Democrats are shamefully pushing a massive expansion of abortion on demand, paid for with tax dollars, in the guise of COVID-19 relief —  including payouts to abortion giant Planned Parenthood.”

“We at Susan B. Anthony List remain vigilant. Together with our congressional allies, we will work tirelessly to expose the Democrats’ abortion extremism and win back the House in 2022,” she added.

Months before the 2020 presidential election, Dannenfelser warned that “Biden and Harris constitute the most pro-abortion presidential ticket in American history.”

A week after taking office, Biden reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevented the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas.

“Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire,” Dannenfelser said at the time.

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