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Senate Backs Budget Amendment to Ban Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

Photo: Senate Backs Budget Amendment to Ban Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

The Senate voted Tuesday to pass an amendment that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget plan that seeks to accomplish an economic agenda with massive increased spending on climate change, health care, education, and paid leave.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the amendment, adopted by a vote of 50-49, that would ensure the spending bill includes the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding provision that bars taxpayer funds from being used for abortions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) joined with Republicans in backing the amendment.

“We should all be able to agree—no American should be forced to pay for an abortion through taxpayer dollars,” Lankford said in a statement.

“Just because a child is inside the womb does not mean they should be treated any differently by law,” he added. “My amendment restates the long-term agreement that no taxpayer dollars fund an abortion, and no American should be punished for refusing to participate in an abortion. That should not be controversial.”

As the Christian Post noted Thursday, the Democrat-led House passed a budget in July that excluded the Hyde Amendment. 

Now, both chambers will have to reconcile the differences between their respective budgets before a final spending bill can be sent to President Joe Biden for signature. 

After supporting the Hyde Amendment for decades, Biden, who describes himself as a “Catholic,” ultimately rejected it while campaigning for president and excluded it from his $6 trillion budget released in May.

A Marist poll released in January found 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 83 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 31 percent of Democrats.

Included among those opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion is 34 percent of Americans who identify themselves as “pro-choice.”

The poll, funded in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, surveyed 1,173 adults. Results are statistically significant within ± 3.5 percentage points. 

Other attempts to include pro-life amendments in the Democrats’ budget bill failed, however, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions past 20 weeks’ gestation.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who introduced the measure, said in a statement, “Babies can start feeling pain at 20 weeks in the womb.”

“These unborn children can suffer horrifically as they struggle for their lives during an abortion,” he added. “I’m incredibly sad that Senate Democrats rejected the chance to protect innocent babies from such cruelty.”

The Senate rejected the Kennedy amendment by a vote of 48-51, with Manchin supporting the amendment. Republicans Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), however, voted with Democrats to block the measure.

An amendment to the budget bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), that would have banned funding for abortions sought due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, also failed in the Senate, 49-50.

Manchin again voted with Republicans on this amendment, while Collins broke with her party and voted with Democrats.

“Over two-thirds of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted,” Inhofe said about his measure. “Some countries, like Iceland, are eradicating their entire population of individuals with Down syndrome through abortion. An individual should not be discriminated against due to his or her chromosome count.”

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