(An unborn baby at 20 weeks/Photo Credit:WebMD)
As they promised, House Republicans managed to pass two pro-life bills on Friday – one to defund the taxpayer-subsidized abortion giant Planned Parenthood, the other to increase protections for babies born alive during botched abortions. While they aren't expected to be signed into law -- President Obama has already promised to veto them, and congressional Democrats have the votes to sustain the veto -- here’s a basic breakdown of the two bills:
The Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would strip the abortion organization of millions in annual federal funding, passed 241-187. The bill would restrict federal funding of Planned Parenthood pending a federal investigation into its alleged illegal sale of aborted fetal body parts unless the organization pledged to stop performing abortions. The money that would otherwise have been given to Planned Parenthood would be redistributed among other women’s health care centers.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which passed 248-177, would increase the penalty for abortionists who terminate the life of a child born alive during a botched abortion to first-degree murder. The bill comes on the heels of powerful testimony from two abortion survivors last week before the House Judiciary Committee, as well as court cases featuring abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in 2013 of three counts of murder after using scissors to sever the necks of babies born alive during abortions in his clinic in Philadelphia.
Following the vote Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) issued the following statement on the bills’ passage in the House:
Today the House of Representatives made a strong statement for children who have no voice in the face of atrocities committed by abortionists. This legislation sends a strong message to those who are in the horrific business of abortions that there are real consequences for those who would kill or abandon children after they are outside a mother's womb. Today's debate is a somber reminder of the horrors of abortion, and the atrocities that abortionists like Kermit Gosnell can inflict on babies.
We are proud that this bill also addresses a primary issue within the House Judiciary Committee's investigation into Planned Parenthood. At the heart of Planned Parenthood's alleged activities is the harvesting of fetal body parts for profit. This bill severely punishes those abortion practitioners who would kill an innocent baby in order to harvest baby parts.
The House’s move to defund Planned Parenthood and heighten protections for born-alive babies comes after nearly a dozen undercover videos were published by the pro-life Center for Medical Studies, which appear to show Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the sale of body parts from aborted babies.
L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of ForAmerica, together with 99 other notable pro-life leaders in the Conservative Action Project, issued a memo yesterday demanding Congress put an end to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, which performs about one-third of all annual abortions in the U.S.
From the memo:
We oppose any bill that funds Planned Parenthood, the largest purveyor of abortions and seller of unborn infant body parts produced by abortions.
The American culture respects human life. Though the radical left has been successful in creating a permissive legal scheme for abortions in the United States, the sentiment of the majority of the country is demonstrably pro-life. Moreover, Americans instinctively recognize the value of life both physically and emotionally.
This fact about our culture explains the waves of outrage over the recent series of revealing videos about Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has now shown a systematic disregard for the most innocent of humans: unborn babies. These videos display individuals and an organization that has no problem harvesting and selling the organs of unborn babies for money. Upon the release of the videos, Americans, disgusted and saddened, immediately recognized that behavior as unethical and repugnant.
While the videos chronicle anecdotal evidence of Planned Parenthood’s abhorrent behavior, the facts about Planned Parenthood reveal an even more disturbing story. One third of the abortions in this country are committed at Planned Parenthood. In the last year, 327,653 lives were lost at the hands of Planned Parenthood, which is heavily subsidized by the taxpayers! This money could be redirected to other more comprehensive health centers.
Planned Parenthood’s most recent financial report shows that $528.4 million of its revenue in 2014 came from federal, state and local governments.
This is an intolerable reality that Congress is empowered to correct. Funding Planned Parenthood is a conscience violation for every taxpayer. Therefore, we will oppose any bill that funds Planned Parenthood.