We applaud the leadership of Reps. Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski and others in introducing this vitally important legislation.
The fact that this bill will codify the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause is tremendously important to our membership and to the patients they serve:
Current law has left a confusing patchwork of policies regarding funding for abortion and abortion coverage, and every year much time and effort is expended as these measures reappear in Appropriations bills.
- A national survey of faith-based physicians revealed that 95 percent are prepared to leave the practice of medicine if they cannot practice conscientiously, observing the life-affirming ethical standards that have guided medicine for millennia.
- A national scientific poll found that 88% of American adults surveyed said it is either "very" or "somewhat" important to them that they share a similar set of morals as their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. (Polling results are available at http://www.freedom2care.org/learn/page/surveys.)
The language of this bill, by contrast, is explicitly and refreshingly clear and simple:
"No funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for any abortion."
This legislation would make permanent the Hyde amendment, which applies to HHS appropriations; the Helms amendment, which applies to overseas programs, the Smith FEHBP amendment, which applies to coverage for federal employees; the Dornan amendment, which applies to Washington, DC; and other policies governing programs such as the Peace Corps and federal prisons.
We urge all lawmakers to cosponsor this excellent legislation.
David Stevens, CEO