No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

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The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3) is a bill that was introduced to the 112th Congress of the United States in the House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois). Although the bill is a bipartisan effort, most of the 173 co-sponsors are Republicans. The bill's stated purpose is "[t]o prohibit taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections, and for other purposes."[1] In large measure, it would render permanent the restrictions on federal funding of abortion in the United States laid out in the Hyde Amendment.[2] The bill passed the House on May 4, 2011 by a vote of 251-175;[3] however, because it is not expected to pass the Senate and may not even come up for a vote, the measure is largely a symbolic one.[4] Still, the committees assigned to this bill sent it to the House for consideration on January 15, 2014 after hearings were held.[5][6]

Controversy over language about rape[edit]

The text of the most recent version of the Hyde Amendment provides an exception for cases of rape, stating that its prohibitions shall not apply "if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest."[7] The rape exception in H.R. 3 uses somewhat different language, stating that its limitations shall not apply "if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest."[1] Some women's rights groups have questioned the addition of the qualifier "forcible" to the word "rape" in H.R. 3, noting that it excludes many forms of rape and "takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough."[2] However, the final version of the bill ultimately did not include the term "forcible rape." [8][9]

One critic, Mother Jones, alleged that the bill is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Republican Party to change the legal definition of rape.[10]

Another critic, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) criticized the legislation, too. An article in The Raw Story had this to say about her reaction to HR 3. "The Florida Democrat, a rising star in her party and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, is a leading voice on women's issues. And she didn't mince her words in an interview with The Raw Story, fiercely denouncing GOP colleagues over H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." 'It is absolutely outrageous,' Wasserman Schultz said in an exclusive interview late Monday afternoon. "I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women..." She continued, "It really is -- to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself," Wasserman Schultz said." "Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable," the four-term congresswoman added."

Critics insist that HR 3 would directly diminish the rights of women who have fallen victim to rapes that are not considered "forcible" by the bill, as well as increase the danger of these types of sexual abuse occurring. [11]

TalkingPointsMemo reported, "In an interview with the anti-abortion site LifeNews, Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, admits the language in the House's No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act "would not allow general federal funding of abortion on all under-age pregnant girls."

However, the bill's text does not offer a definition of "rape" nor of "forcible rape." Responding to the criticism about the language used in the rape exception clause, bill co-sponsor Dan Lipinski (D) stated, "The language of H.R. 3 was not intended to change existing law regarding taxpayer funding for abortion in cases of rape, nor is it expected that it would do so. Nonetheless, the legislative process will provide an opportunity to clarify this should such a need exist."[12]

Political impact[edit]

David Weigel has pointed to this bill, as well as to the proposed Protect Life Act and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, as a move that will backfire on the Republican Party. He writes that Democrats such as Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, already are and will continue to be pointing out that the party made its top priority redefining rape, and otherwise focusing on social issues, rather than creating jobs.[13]

Bill Sponsors[edit]

Representative Name U.S. Congressional District
Rep Adams, Sandy FL-24
Rep Aderholt, Robert B. AL-4
Rep Akin, W. Todd MO-2
Rep Alexander, Rodney LA-5
Rep Amash, Justin MI-3
Rep Austria, Steve OH-7
Rep Bachmann, Michele MN-6
Rep Bachus, Spencer AL-6
Rep Barletta, Lou PA-11
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. MD-6
Rep Barton, Joe TX-6
Rep Benishek, Dan MI-1
Rep Berg, Rick ND
Rep Bilbray, Brian P. CA-50
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. FL-9
Rep Bishop, Rob UT-1
Rep Black, Diane TN-6
Rep Blackburn, Marsha TN-7
Rep Bonner, Jo AL-1
Rep Boren, Dan OK-2
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. LA-7
Rep Brady, Kevin TX-8
Rep Brooks, Mo AL-5
Rep Broun, Paul C. GA-10
Rep Buchanan, Vern FL-13
Rep Bucshon, Larry IN-8
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie NY-25
Rep Burgess, Michael C. TX-26
Rep Burton, Dan IN-5
Rep Calvert, Ken CA-44
Rep Campbell, John CA-48
Rep Canseco, Francisco "Quico" TX-23
Rep Cantor, Eric VA-7
Rep Carter, John R. TX-31
Rep Cassidy, Bill LA-6
Rep Chabot, Steve OH-1
Rep Chaffetz, Jason UT-3
Rep Coble, Howard NC-6
Rep Coffman, Mike CO-6
Rep Cole, Tom OK-4
Rep Conaway, K. Michael TX-11
Rep Costello, Jerry F. IL-12
Rep Cravaack, Chip MN-8
Rep Crawford, Eric A. "Rick" AR-1
Rep Crenshaw, Ander FL-4
Rep Critz, Mark S. PA-12
Rep Culberson, John Abney TX-7
Rep Davis, Geoff KY-4
Rep Denham, Jeff CA-19
Rep DesJarlais, Scott TN-4
Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario FL-21
Rep Donnelly, Joe IN-2
Rep Duffy, Sean P. WI-7
Rep Duncan, Jeff SC-3
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. TN-2
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. NC-2
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann MO-8
Rep Farenthold, Blake TX-27
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee TN-8
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. PA-8
Rep Flake, Jeff AZ-6
Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. "Chuck" TN-3
Rep Fleming, John LA-4
Rep Flores, Bill TX-17
Rep Forbes, J. Randy VA-4
Rep Fortenberry, Jeff NE-1
Rep Foxx, Virginia NC-5
Rep Franks, Trent AZ-2
Rep Gallegly, Elton CA-24
Rep Gardner, Cory CO-4
Rep Garrett, Scott NJ-5
Rep Gerlach, Jim PA-6
Rep Gibbs, Bob OH-18
Rep Gingrey, Phil GA-11
Rep Gohmert, Louie TX-1
Rep Goodlatte, Bob VA-6
Rep Gosar, Paul A. AZ-1
Rep Gowdy, Trey SC-4
Rep Granger, Kay TX-12
Rep Graves, Sam MO-6
Rep Graves, Tom GA-9
Rep Griffin, Tim AR-2
Rep Griffith, H. Morgan VA-9
Rep Grimm, Michael G. NY-13
Rep Guinta, Frank C. NH-1
Rep Guthrie, Brett KY-2
Rep Hall, Ralph M. TX-4
Rep Harper, Gregg MS-3
Rep Harris, Andy MD-1
Rep Hartzler, Vicky MO-4
Rep Heck, Joseph J. NV-3
Rep Hensarling, Jeb TX-5
Rep Herger, Wally CA-2
Rep Holden, Tim PA-17
Rep Huelskamp, Tim KS-1
Rep Huizenga, Bill MI-2
Rep Hultgren, Randy IL-14
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. CA-52
Rep Hurt, Robert VA-5
Rep Issa, Darrell E. CA-49
Rep Jenkins, Lynn KS-2
Rep Johnson, Bill OH-6
Rep Johnson, Sam TX-3
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. IL-15
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. NC-3
Rep Jordan, Jim OH-4
Rep Kelly, Mike PA-3
Rep King, Peter T. NY-3
Rep King, Steve IA-5
Rep Kingston, Jack GA-1
Rep Kinzinger, Adam IL-11
Rep Kline, John MN-2
Rep Labrador, Raul R. ID-1
Rep Lamborn, Doug CO-5
Rep Lance, Leonard NJ-7
Rep Landry, Jeffrey M. LA-3
Rep Lankford, James OK-5
Rep Latham, Tom IA-4
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. OH-14
Rep Latta, Robert E. OH-5
Rep Lee, Christopher J. NY-26
Rep Lewis, Jerry CA-41
Rep Lipinski, Daniel IL-3
Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. NJ-2
Rep Long, Billy MO-7
Rep Lucas, Frank D. OK-3
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine MO-9
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. WY
Rep Lungren, Daniel E. CA-3
Rep Mack, Connie FL-14
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. IL-16
Rep Marchant, Kenny TX-24
Rep Marino, Tom PA-10
Rep McCarthy, Kevin CA-22
Rep McCaul, Michael T. TX-10
Rep McClintock, Tom CA-4
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. MI-11
Rep McHenry, Patrick T. NC-10
Rep McIntyre, Mike NC-7
Rep McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" CA-25
Rep McKinley, David B. WV-1
Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy WA-5
Rep Mica, John L. FL-7
Rep Miller, Candice S. MI-10
Rep Miller, Gary G. CA-42
Rep Miller, Jeff FL-1
Rep Mulvaney, Mick SC-5
Rep Murphy, Tim PA-18
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins NC-9
Rep Neugebauer, Randy TX-19
Rep Noem, Kristi L. SD
Rep Nugent, Richard FL-5
Rep Nunes, Devin CA-21
Rep Nunnelee, Alan MS-1
Rep Olson, Pete TX-22
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. MS-4
Rep Paul, Ron TX-14
Rep Pearce, Stevan NM-2
Rep Pence, Mike IN-6
Rep Peterson, Collin C. MN-7
Rep Petri, Thomas E. WI-6
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. PA-16
Rep Platts, Todd Russell PA-19
Rep Poe, Ted TX-2
Rep Pompeo, Mike KS-4
Rep Posey, Bill FL-15
Rep Price, Tom GA-6
Rep Quayle, Benjamin AZ-3
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II WV-3
Rep Reed, Tom NY-29
Rep Rehberg, Denny MT
Rep Ribble, Reid J. WI-8
Rep Rigell, E. Scott VA-2
Rep Rivera, David FL-25
Rep Roby, Martha AL-2
Rep Roe, David P. TN-1
Rep Rogers, Harold KY-5
Rep Rogers, Mike D. AL-3
Rep Rogers, Mike J. MI-8
Rep Rokita, Todd IN-4
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. FL-16
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana FL-18
Rep Roskam, Peter J. IL-6
Rep Ross, Dennis FL-12
Rep Ross, Mike AR-4
Rep Royce, Edward R. CA-40
Rep Ryan, Paul WI-1
Rep Scalise, Steve LA-1
Rep Schilling, Robert T. IL-17
Rep Schmidt, Jean OH-2
Rep Schock, Aaron IL-18
Rep Schweikert, David AZ-5
Rep Scott, Austin GA-8
Rep Scott, Tim SC-1
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. WI-5
Rep Sessions, Pete TX-32
Rep Shimkus, John IL-19
Rep Shuler, Heath NC-11
Rep Shuster, Bill PA-9
Rep Simpson, Michael K. ID-2
Rep Smith, Adrian NE-3
Rep Smith, Lamar TX-21
Rep Southerland, Steve FL-2
Rep Stearns, Cliff FL-6
Rep Stivers, Steve OH-15
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. IN-3
Rep Sullivan, John OK-1
Rep Terry, Lee NE-2
Rep Thompson, Glenn PA-5
Rep Thornberry, Mac TX-13
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. OH-12
Rep Turner, Michael R. OH-3
Rep Upton, Fred MI-6
Rep Walberg, Tim MI-7
Rep Walden, Greg OR-2
Rep Walsh, Joe IL-8
Rep West, Allen B. FL-22
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. GA-3
Rep Whitfield, Ed KY-1
Rep Wilson, Joe SC-2
Rep Wittman, Robert J. VA-1
Rep Wolf, Frank R. VA-10
Rep Womack, Steve AR-3
Rep Woodall, Rob GA-7
Rep Yoder, Kevin KS-3
Rep Young, C.W. Bill FL-10
Rep Young, Todd C. IN-9

References[edit]