U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner on Tuesday pledged to the 40th annual National Right to Life Convention (NRLC) that he would sign on to legislation, soon to be introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), that would make the Hyde amendment barring taxpayer funding for abortion permanent law.
“It’s clear from the health care debate that the American people don’t want their tax dollars paying for abortion, and a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives agrees,” said Boehner, who called the legislation “the next objective for pro-life America.”
Boehner criticized the Executive Order that President Obama signed to assuage pro-life Democrats that the Hyde amendment would be upheld in the new legislation – but that analysts say only reiterated what was already stated in the bill.
The GOP leader expressed frustration that the Obama administration had yet to “[lift] a finger to enforce the president’s executive order on abortion,” as reported by The Hill. He said that, when asked about the implementation of the order, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration was “working on it.”
Boehner said that he would call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put legislation codifying Hyde-amendment restrictions on abortion funding to an immediate vote.
At the same event, Boehner received the National Right to Life Committee’s (NRLC) “Legislator of the Year 2010” award for his work combating the pro-abortion federal health care bill. Earlier this year, Americans United for Life had awarded the congressman the Henry Hyde award.
When the health care reform debates were in full swing last November, Boehner decried the “monthly abortion premium” to be demanded of all customers of the government-run plan as dictated by the current version of the bill. Boehner also pointed out, as verified by NRLC analysts, that the bill forced at least one insurance plan offered in each regional insurance exchange to offer abortion and gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to mandate that abortion be considered part of the essential benefits package of a government-run plan.
Later, Boehner excoriated the amended Senate version of the bill for maintaining the “monthly abortion fee,” and posted the NRLC’s detailed breakdown of the bill’s manifold abortion flaws.
In a statement announcing Boehner’s award last month, National Right to Life Co-Executive Director Darla St. Martin praised the lawmaker for his work fighting the abortion mandate embedded in the federal health care reform legislation. “Throughout the battle over President Obama’s healthcare bill, Leader Boehner worked tirelessly to defend the rights of unborn children, the elderly, and the medically dependent,” she said.