No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Floor Speech

Date: May 4, 2011
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Abortion


Mr. NUGENT. House Resolution 237 provides for a closed rule for consideration of H.R. 3. The rule provides for ample debate on this bill and gives Members of both the minority and the majority the opportunity to participate in the debate.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this rule and the underlying
bill. For the past 30 years, we've used a patchwork system of clauses and amendments to protect American tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions. Every year Congress has to attach a series of amendments to appropriation bills specifically stating that funds spent in that legislation may not be used for elective abortions. Every year these amendments pass. These amendments pass, Madam Speaker, because Members of Congress know and recognize the fact that the vast majority of Americans do not want their hard-earned money to be spent for abortions of innocent, unborn lives.

In 2010 the Zogby/O'Leary poll found that 77 percent of Americans believe that Federal funds should never be used to pay for abortions or should only be used to save the life of the mother--77 percent, Madam Speaker. This number proves that even people who support a woman's right to choose still believe that tax dollars should not pay for that choice.

Clearly the time has come to move beyond this piecemeal approach and reform the way our Nation addresses this very important and sensitive issue.

H.R. 3 simply codifies and makes permanent the policies that currently rely upon regular, re-approval of Congress. Among the riders made permanent to H.R. 3 are:

the Hyde amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage through any program funded through the annual Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act; the Helms amendment, which prohibits funding for abortion as a method of family planning overseas; the Smith Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage for Federal employees; the Dornan amendment, which prohibits the use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia; the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause, which ensures that recipients of Federal funding do not discriminate against doctors, nurses, and hospitals because they do not provide, pay for, cover, or refer for abortions.

Madam Speaker, a woman's right to choose can be a divisive issue that splits the American people down the middle. However, we aren't talking about a 50/50 issue; we're talking about 77 percent. It's clearly a majority.

Just like Americans on both sides of the aisle believe that tax dollars shouldn't go to pay for abortions, so do the Members of Congress from both parties. There are 227 bipartisan cosponsors of H.R. 3. I'm proud to be one of those cosponsors.

H.R. 3 will ensure that American taxpayers are not forced to fund what many consider the destruction of innocent human life through abortion on demand.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act will establish a government-wide statutory prohibition on funding abortion or insurance coverage that includes abortion. This comprehensive approach will reduce the need for numerous separate abortion-funding riders.

It eliminates abortion-related amendments to appropriation bills, bills that the rules of the House remind us aren't even supposed to legislate through amendments. It ensures that all Federal programs are subject to this important safeguard.

Once again, Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this rule and the underlying legislation. I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule and ``yes'' on the underlying bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. NUGENT. Madam Speaker, I need to correct one thing. The word ``forcible'' is nowhere in the statute or the legislation as we have it on the floor.

Madam Speaker, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have you believe that H.R. 3 is about taking away a woman's right to choose. That is simply not true. H.R. 3 is about ensuring that taxpayers aren't on the hook for paying for that choice. My Democratic colleagues would have you believe that we want to raise your taxes and allow the IRS to audit women. Again, that is simply not true. The bill is about one thing: keeping our tax dollars from being spent for elective abortions on demand.

The United States is currently borrowing 42 cents of every dollar we spend. We are in debt and spending money we don't have. We need to focus on bringing our government back to its core mission. You can't tell me that paying for elective abortions is part of our core mission.

I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.