FOCA by stealth

April 15, 2009

This is the ninth entry in a series on FOCA by Stealth by AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs, Denise M. Burke. The entire article from which this series is taken is available at Beware of “FOCA-By-Stealth”: Radical Abortion-on-Demand Agenda Being Implemented Piecemeal.

Action on Budgetary Riders

The repeal of established provisions and policies prohibiting or limiting federal funding of abortion is a top priority of pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. Often called “pro-life riders,” abortion advocates want Congress to eliminate these provisions and policies and quickly authorize the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion-on-demand.

Appropriations provisions or riders prohibiting or limiting the use of taxpayer funding for abortion and contraception are already under attack and many remain vulnerable. Importantly, these riders are not permanent law and must be regularly renewed by Congress to remain in effect.

Congress has already rendered the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding of programs that include coercive abortions, impotent (by the passage of the fiscal 2009 Omnibus spending measure). Negative action on additional riders like the Hyde Amendment, the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, and others is not far behind.

The Hyde Amendment, first enacted in 1976, prohibits Medicaid and any other federal program from funding abortions except in cases of rape or incest, or to save the mother’s life. Meanwhile, the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, first enacted in 2004, protects the freedom of conscience of healthcare providers by prohibiting programs that receive federal funds from discriminating against healthcare providers who refuse to provide, pay for, provide coverage for, or refer for abortions. Notably, both of these important riders have survived multiple court challenges and been deemed constitutional. However, pro-abortion groups are actively lobbying for their repeal and, unfortunately, Congress and the White House are likely to comply.

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