A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit the use of federal funds for nearly all abortions, including statutory rape.
Under the bill, a few exceptions to the ban would remain, and “forcible” rape would be one of them. That’s a significant change from the current language, which is more broadly interpreted. The inclusion of the word “forcible” would implicitly exclude non-violent instances of non-consensual sex, such as statutory rape, or when a woman is drugged.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, of Colorado Springs, is one of the bill’s 173 co-sponsors.
The bill, HR 3, has been titled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” It would still allow federal funds to be used for abortions if the pregnancy is endangering the woman’s life.
Lamborn spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said in an email, “Congressman Lamborn agrees with the majority of Americans that taxpayer dollars should not pay for abortions, with only narrow exceptions permitted.”
The measure’s primary sponsor is U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-New Jersey. Colorado U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, both Republicans, are also co-sponsoring the bill.
The bill summary, from thomas.gov:
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act – Prohibits the expenditure of funds authorized or appropriated by federal law or funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law (federal funds) for any abortion.
Prohibits federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)
Disallows any tax benefits for amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or for a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortion, including any medical deduction for such amounts or any credit for such an employer-sponsored plan.
Prohibits the inclusion of abortion in any health care service furnished by a federal or District of Columbia health care facility or by any physician or other individual employed by the federal government or the District.
Provides that such prohibitions shall not apply to an abortion if: (1) the pregnancy is the result of forcible rape or, if the pregnant woman is a minor, incest; or (2) the woman suffers from a physical disorder, injury, or illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would place her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, as certified by a physician.
Makes such prohibitions applicable to District funds.
Creates a cause of action for any violations of the abortion provisions of PPACA. Gives federal courts jurisdiction to prevent and redress actual or threatened violations of such provisions by issuing any form of legal or equitable relief, including an injunction or order preventing the disbursement of all or a portion of federal financial assistance until the prohibited conduct has ceased. Gives standing to institute an action to affected health care entities and the Attorney General.
Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to designate the Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive, investigate, and refer to the appropriate federal agency complaints alleging a violation of PPACA abortion provisions.