Monday, February 7, 2011

Pro-life bills introduced in Congress - a quick summary

Here's a quick summary of key pro-life bills introduced in the House of Representatives in this new 112th Congress that relate to health care, conscience rights, abortion and human cloning.
You can read the full text of the bills below by searching http://thomas.loc.gov/  for the bill number (e.g., HR2, in which HR stands for House of Representatives). The bill title and number are followed by the legislator who introduced the legislation.
Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (H.R.2) ( Rep. Cantor, Eric [VA-7]) - repeals the Democrats' healthcare reform law passed in 2010. Physician lawmakers, including a number newly elected to Congress, helped pass this repeal bill on Jan. 19, largely along party lines. While prospects for Senate passage of the House repeal bill at this time appear unlikely, Senate procedural rules could be employed to force a vote, putting senators on record on the highly controversial law. Meanwhile, over half the states are now challenging the law in court.
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (HR 3) ( Rep. Smith, Christopher [NJ-4]) -
  • No tax subsidy: "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. No health care service furnished--(1) by or in a health care facility owned or operated by the Federal Government; or (2) by any physician or other individual employed by the Federal Government to provide health care services within the scope of the physician's or individual's employment, may include abortion.
  • No discrimination: "A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance (either directly or indirectly), may not subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions."
Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (HR 217) ( Rep. Pence, Mike [IN-6]) - prohibits family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions: "The [HHS] Secretary shall not provide any assistance under this title to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion."

Protect Life Act (HR 358) ) Rep. Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]) - amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Democrats' healthcare reform bill passed in 2010) to provide:
  • No abortion requirement: "Nothing in this Act … shall be construed to require any health plan to provide coverage of or access to abortion services or to allow the [HHS] Secretary or any other Federal or non-Federal person or entity in implementing this Act (or amendment) to require coverage of, access to, or training in abortion services."
  • No discrimination: "A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), may not subject any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination … on the basis that the health care entity refuses to--(A) undergo training in the performance of induced abortions;(B) require or provide such training;(C) perform, participate in, provide coverage of, or pay for induced abortions; or (D) provide referrals for such training or such abortions."
Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (HR 361) ( Rep. Fleming, John [LA-4]) - would amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit certain abortion-related discrimination in governmental activities, including if a healthcare "entity" (including professionals) refuses: "to undergo training in the performance of induced abortions; to require or provide such training; to perform, participate in, provide coverage of, or pay for induced abortions; or to provide referrals for such training or such abortions."
Patients First Act (awaiting introduction; previously H.R.877) - would "(1) intensify research that may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions; (2) promote research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing clinical benefit for human patients; and (3) promote the derivation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos for research purposes and without the destruction or discarding of, or risk of injury to, a human embryo."
Human Cloning Prohibition Act (awaiting introduction; previously H.R.1050) - Unlike phony "bans" that actually allow creating a human clone and then mandate the embryo's destruction after two weeks of life, this pro-life bill defines `human cloning' as "human asexual reproduction, accomplished by introducing the nuclear material of a human somatic cell into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nucleus has been removed or inactivated to produce a living organism (at any stage of development) with a human or predominantly human genetic constitution. The bill would make it "unlawful for any person or entity, public or private, in or affecting interstate commerce to perform or attempt to perform human cloning; to participate in an attempt to perform human cloning; or to ship or receive the product of human cloning for any purpose."

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