NRL News
Page 1
March 2009
Volume 36
Issue 3

Pro-Life U.S. House Members Resist FOCA,
Defend Hyde Amendment in Letters to Obama, Pelosi

WASHINGTON (March 5, 2009)—In two recent letters, numerous members of the U.S. House of Representatives have put President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) on notice that they are strongly opposed to any plans to enact new pro-abortion policies during the new Congress, which convened in January.

On January 21, 113 House Republicans, led by Republican Leader John Boehner (Oh.) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to withdraw his pre-election pledge to sign the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) if Congress approves that bill. (A complete list of the signers appears at the bottom of this article.)

As a U.S. senator, Obama was a cosponsor of the FOCA, a proposed federal law that would invalidate virtually all limitations on abortion, including parental notification laws, require government funding of abortion, and make partial-birth abortion legal again.

The lawmakers reminded Obama, “During the campaign you talked about reducing abortions. The Freedom of Choice Act would do the opposite. By overturning laws that require parental notification or consent before a minor girl obtains an abortion, the abortion rate will increase. ... Also, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate agree that longstanding provisions that restrict funding for abortions reduce the number of abortions dramatically.”

The letter concluded, “We respectfully urge you to withdraw your pledge to sign FOCA, and that you pledge not to sign legislation that incrementally enacts FOCA by rescinding existing pro-life laws and legal protections.”

On March 5, a spokesman for Congressman Boehner told NRL News that President Obama had sent no formal response to the letter.

Two days after the letter was sent, Obama issued a presidential directive nullifying the pro-life “Mexico City Policy,” which had the effect of opening the door to U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion overseas. (See “Obama Orders Funds to Pro-Abortion Groups,” February NRL News, page 1.)

The Obama Administration has also announced initial steps to nullify a regulation issued under President Bush that increased the protections available to health care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions. (See page 13 of this issue.)

The congressional sponsors of the FOCA have not yet reintroduced the bill in the new Congress.

Appropriations Provisions

Pro-life forces are bracing for a likely assault on important pro-life policies that have been adopted and continued through enactment of provisions in annual federal appropriations bills. The best-known of these appropriations provisions is the Hyde Amendment, named after the late pro-life champion Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Il.), which prohibits funding of abortions (with narrow exceptions) under the federal Medicaid program. Other appropriations-bill provisions prevent funding of abortion in other federal programs, protect the rights of pro-life health care providers, restrict federal funding of embryo-destructive research, and advance other important pro-life purposes.

In a “wish list” memorandum submitted to the Obama transition team shortly after the November election, an alliance of over 60 pro-abortion advocacy groups urged that the Obama White House work with the Democratic congressional majority leadership to repeal nearly all of these provisions when new appropriations bills are written for the federal fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2009. (See “Pro-Abortion Alliance Submits 55-Page Wish List Memo to Obama Transition,” January NRL News, page 17.)

The Fiscal Year 2009-2010 appropriations bills will be drafted in subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee over the next couple of months, and will be voted on by the House and Senate this summer and fall.

On February 25, 180 House members of both parties sent a letter to House Speaker Pelosi, Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wi.), and Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), urging that the traditional pro-life provisions once again be included in the new crop of appropriations bills.

The letter was originated by Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-Oh.) and Heath Shuler (D-NC). It was signed by 23 Democrats and 157 Republicans. (A complete list of signers appears at the bottom of this article.) The House is currently comprised of 254 Democrats and 178 Republicans, with three seats vacant.

The letter observed that “for many years pro-life measures have been added to the various appropriations bills to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to promote or perform abortion, protect the consciences of health care professionals, and prevent funding for unethical human embryo experiments. ... Some of these measures have been in place for over thirty years. The Hyde Amendment, for example, has been in effect since 1976. Enacted under a Democratic Congress, the Hyde Amendment has been renewed by administrations and congresses regardless of party control. Members of both parties have expressed strong support for these measures, which reflect the moral concerns of many Americans who do not wish to see their tax dollars used for any organization that provides abortion services.”

The letter urged inclusion of the Hyde Amendment and all the other traditional pro-life provisions in upcoming appropriations bills, noting, “We believe that failure to include all of the current policies with regard to the right to life will mark a radical departure from a policy a majority of Americans support.” However, if any of these traditional provisions is deleted in the Appropriations Committee, the Democratic leadership should allow the full House to vote on whether to restore the pro-life provision, the letter argued, commenting, “At a minimum the American people deserve a full debate with an up-or-down vote.”

The following 113 U.S. House members signed the January 21, 2009, letter to President Obama urging him to withdraw his support for the “Freedom of Choice Act.”

ALABAMA: Jo Bonner (R), Michael Rogers (R), Robert Aderholt (R), Spencer Bachus (R).

ARIZONA: Trent Franks (R), John Shadegg (R).

CALIFORNIA: Wally Herger (R), Kevin McCarthy (R), Elton Gallegly (R), Gary Miller (R), Ken Calvert (R), John Campbell (R), Darrell Issa (R), Duncan Hunter (R).

COLORADO: Doug Lamborn (R), Mike Coffman (R).

FLORIDA: Ander Crenshaw (R), Cliff Stearns (R), Gus Bilirakis (R), C.W. Bill Young (R), Adam Putnam (R), Tom Rooney (R), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R).

GEORGIA: Jack Kingston (R), Tom Price (R), John Linder (R), Paul Broun (R), Phil Gingrey (R).

IDAHO: Mike Simpson (R).

ILLINOIS: Timothy Johnson (R), Donald Manzullo (R), Aaron Schock (R).

INDIANA: Mark Souder (R), Dan Burton (R), Mike Pence (R).

IOWA: Tom Latham (R), Steve King (R).

KANSAS: Jerry Moran (R), Todd Tiahrt (R).

KENTUCKY: Brett Guthrie (R), Geoff Davis (R), Harold Rogers (R).

LOUISIANA: Steve Scalise (R), Rodney Alexander (R), Charles Boustany (R).

MARYLAND: Roscoe Bartlett (R).

MICHIGAN: Peter Hoekstra (R), Vernon Ehlers (R), Michael Rogers (R), Candice Miller (R), Thaddeus McCotter (R).

MINNESOTA: John Kline (R), Erik Paulsen (R), Michele Bachmann (R).

MISSISSIPPI: Gregg Harper (R).

MISSOURI: Todd Akin (R), Sam Graves (R), Roy Blunt (R), Jo Ann Emerson (R), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R).

NEBRASKA: Jeff Fortenberry (R), Lee Terry (R), Adrian Smith (R).

NEW JERSEY: Christopher Smith (R), Scott Garrett (R).

NORTH CAROLINA:  Walter Jones (R), Virginia Foxx (R), Sue Myrick (R), Patrick McHenry (R).

OHIO:  Jean Schmidt (R), Michael Turner (R), Jim Jordan (R), Robert Latta (R), Steve Austria (R), John Boehner (R), Patrick Tiberi (R), Steven LaTourette (R).

OKLAHOMA:  Tom Cole (R).

PENNSYLVANIA:  Glenn Thompson (R), Joseph Pitts (R), Tim Murphy (R), Todd Platts (R).

SOUTH CAROLINA:  Henry Brown (R), Joe Wilson (R), J. Gresham Barrett (R), Bob Inglis (R).

TENNESSEE: Phil Roe (R), Zach Wamp (R), Marsha Blackburn (R).

TEXAS: Louie Gohmert (R), Ted Poe (R), Sam Johnson (R), Ralph Hall (R), Jeb Hensarling (R), Joe Barton (R), John Culberson (R), Michael McCaul (R), Mike Conaway (R), William “Mac” Thornberry (R), Ron Paul (R), Randy Neugebauer (R), Pete Olson (R), Michael Burgess (R), John Carter (R), Pete Sessions (R).

UTAH: Rob Bishop (R), Jason Chaffetz (R).

VIRGINIA: Randy Forbes (R), Bob Goodlatte (R), Eric Cantor (R), Frank Wolf (R).

WASHINGTON: Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R).

WISCONSIN: James Sensenbrenner (R).

The following 180 U.S. House members signed the Jordan-Shuler letter of February 25, 2009, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, in defense of the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life provisions on appropriations bills.

ALABAMA: Jo Bonner (R), Bobby Bright (D), Michael Rogers (R), Robert Aderholt (R), Parker Griffith (D), Spencer Bachus (R).

ALASKA: Don Young (R).

ARIZONA: Trent Franks (R), John Shadegg (R), Jeff Flake (R).

ARKANSAS: John Boozman (R).

CALIFORNIA: Wally Herger (R), Dan Lungren (R), Tom McClintock (R), George Radanovich (R), Devin Nunes (R), Kevin McCarthy (R), Elton Gallegly (R), Ed Royce (R), Gary Miller (R), Ken Calvert (R), Dana Rohrabacher (R), John Campbell (R), Darrell Issa (R), Brian Bilbray (R), Duncan Hunter (R).

COLORADO: Doug Lamborn (R), Mike Coffman (R).

FLORIDA: Jeff Miller (R), Cliff Stearns (R), John Mica (R), Gus Bilirakis (R), C.W. Bill Young (R), Adam Putnam (R), Vern Buchanan (R), Connie Mack (R), Bill Posey (R), Tom Rooney (R), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), Mario Diaz-Balart (R).

GEORGIA: Jack Kingston (R), Lynn Westmoreland (R), Tom Price (R), John Linder (R), Jim Marshall (D), Nathan Deal (R), Paul Broun (R), Phil Gingrey (R).

IDAHO: Mike Simpson (R).

ILLINOIS: Daniel Lipinski (D), Peter Roskam (R), Jerry Costello (D), Timothy Johnson (R), Donald Manzullo (R), Aaron Schock (R), John Shimkus (R).

INDIANA: Joe Donnelly (D), Mark Souder (R), Dan Burton (R), Mike Pence (R), Brad Ellsworth (D).

IOWA: Tom Latham (R), Steve King (R).

KANSAS: Jerry Moran (R), Todd Tiahrt (R).

KENTUCKY: Ed Whitfield (R), Brett Guthrie (R), Geoff Davis (R), Harold Rogers (R).

LOUISIANA: Steve Scalise (R), Anh Cao (R), Charlie Melancon (D), John Fleming (R), Rodney Alexander (R), Bill Cassidy (R), Charles Boustany (R).

MARYLAND: Roscoe Bartlett (R).

MICHIGAN: Bart Stupak (D), Peter Hoekstra (R), Vernon Ehlers (R), Dave Camp (R), Dale Kildee (D), Fred Upton (R), Michael Rogers (R), Candice Miller (R), Thaddeus McCotter (R).

MINNESOTA: John Kline (R), Erik Paulsen (R), Michele Bachmann (R), Collin Peterson (D).

MISSISSIPPI: Travis Childers (D), Gregg Harper (R), Gene Taylor (D).

MISSOURI: Todd Akin (R), Sam Graves (R), Roy Blunt (R), Jo Ann Emerson (R), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R).

MONTANA: Dennis Rehberg (R).

NEBRASKA: Jeff Fortenberry (R), Lee Terry (R), Adrian Smith (R).

NEW JERSEY: Frank LoBiondo (R), Christopher Smith (R), Scott Garrett (R).

NEW YORK: Peter King (R).

NORTH CAROLINA: Walter Jones (R), Virginia Foxx (R), Howard Coble (R), Mike McIntyre (D), Sue Myrick (R), Patrick McHenry (R), Heath Shuler (D).

OHIO: Steve Driehaus (D), Jean Schmidt (R), Michael Turner (R), Jim Jordan (R), Robert Latta (R), Steve Austria (R), John Boehner (R), Patrick Tiberi (R).

OKLAHOMA: John Sullivan (R), Dan Boren (D), Frank Lucas (R), Tom Cole (R), Mary Fallin (R).

PENNSYLVANIA: Kathy Dahlkemper (D), Jason Altmire (D), Glenn Thompson (R), Jim Gerlach (R), Bill Shuster (R), Joseph Pitts (R), Tim Holden (D), Tim Murphy (R), Todd Platts (R).

SOUTH CAROLINA: Henry Brown (R), Joe Wilson (R), J. Gresham Barrett (R), Bob Inglis (R).

TENNESSEE: Phil Roe (R), John Duncan (R), Zach Wamp (R), Lincoln Davis (D), Marsha Blackburn (R).

TEXAS: Louie Gohmert (R), Ted Poe (R), Sam Johnson (R), Ralph Hall (R), Jeb Hensarling (R), Joe Barton (R), John Culberson (R), Kevin Brady (R), Michael McCaul (R), Mike Conaway (R), Kay Granger (R), William ‘Mac’ Thornberry (R), Ron Paul (R), Randy Neugebauer (R), Lamar Smith (R), Pete Olson (R), Kenny Marchant (R), Michael Burgess (R), Solomon Ortiz (D), John Carter (R), Pete Sessions (R).

UTAH: Rob Bishop (R), Jason Chaffetz (R).

VIRGINIA: Robert Wittman (R), Randy Forbes (R), Bob Goodlatte (R), Eric Cantor (R), Frank Wolf (R).

WASHINGTON: Doc Hastings (R), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R).

WEST VIRGINIA: Nick Rahall (D).

WISCONSIN: Paul Ryan (R), James Sensenbrenner (R), Thomas Petri (R).

WYOMING: Cynthia Lummis (R).