“Today, Congress took bipartisan action to prevent taxpayers' funds from being used for abortion,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said in a statement after the bill passed. Camp serves as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which makes tax law. “The tax provisions in the legislation ensure that the long-standing Hyde amendment is applied consistently, including in those instances resulting from the Democrats' healthcare law. The legislation is pro-life, pro-family and it is pro-taxpayer.”
Camp's reference is to the amendment named for Henry Hyde, the former Republican congressman from Illinois who sponsored a measure that passed in 1976 that bars the use of federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or harm to the mother. Because it is a so-called “rider,” and not a permanent law, the Hyde amendment has been attached to appropriations bills since that time.
Separately Wednesday, a group of Republican senators introduced the Protect Life Act, which they say would also guarantee that no taxpayer dollars are used in abortions by applying the Hyde amendment to last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows taxpayer-funded abortions through insurance policies, the pre-existing condition insurance plans, federally qualified health centers, and health plans administered by the federal government," said a statement from the Senate Finance Committee. "PPACA's loopholes and direct appropriation of funds to new mandatory health programs mean that substantial amounts of taxpayer dollars are not subject to the annual pro-life appropriations rider, commonly known as the Hyde amendment."
The group of senators who introduced the bill include Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).