Today Congressman Joe Donnelly announced his support for a pro-life amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act that would explicitly prohibit federal funds from being used to support abortions. The bipartisan proposal strengthening the bill's prohibitions on funding for abortion was negotiated by Representatives Bart Stupak of Michigan, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania and other pro-life members, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and approved for floor consideration by the House Rules Committee.
"I am pro-life and have always opposed any federal funding for a procedure which deeply divides our nation. I have always said we need real health reform that secures accessible and affordable care for both those who have insurance and those who do not. Ultimately, I believe meaningful reform is about honoring the sanctity of human life--ensuring decency in care for both the living and the unborn. With that in mind, I have worked with my pro-life colleagues for weeks to get a stronger anti-abortion amendment added to the bill. On September 28, I joined pro-life colleagues from both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to the Speaker of the House asking for a vote on the Stupak amendment, and today we will have that vote. I urge my colleagues in the House to support the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Smith-Kaptur-Dahlkemper Amendment."
The amendment to the underlying bill, H.R. 3962, would apply traditional prohibitions on federal funding for abortions, commonly known as the "Hyde Amendment," to new initiatives created by the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Named after late pro-life Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, the amendment has been renewed every year since 1976 by Congress and prevents annually-appropriated federal funds from being used to support or provide abortions. Specifically, the new pro-life amendment would permanently apply the Hyde prohibitions to both the public option insurance plan that would be created by H.R. 3962 and also private insurers who participate in the new insurance exchange.
Votes on both the pro-life amendment and final passage of H.R. 3962 are expected today.