Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) blasted the passage of H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services or any health plan that includes such coverage. This Republican-sponsored bill also imposes new restrictions on health insurance coverage for abortion care and expands conscience protection laws while limiting access to reproductive health services.
"My Republican colleagues should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Instead of working to create jobs for the millions of Americans struggling all across this nation, they have decided they would rather spend time considering a bill that is a direct attack on a woman's constitutionally protected right to choose and that does not create one single job. Furthermore, it stands no chance of becoming law and is a complete waste of time.
"What the Republicans have decided to do is resort back to their old bag of tricks by pulling out the 'abortion card' in order to score political points with their base and hide the fact that they have yet to pass a jobs bill.
"The Protect Life Act poses a direct threat to the health and lives of women by restricting access to abortion services, including factually accurate information such as the availability and coverage of abortion care by insurance plans. This is beyond irresponsible; it is reprehensible.
"All I hear from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is that they want the government to butt out. Why, then, are we considering legislation that effectively overturns the privacy rights enumerated by the Supreme Court, as well as increases burdensome government regulations on insurance companies? Congress and, for that matter, men in this institution, should not be making personal health care decisions for women. That should be between a woman, her family, and doctor.
"The Republican arguments are full of fuzzy facts and they have continually pushed through legislation this year that has weakened environmental protections; cut funding for child nutrition, the unemployed, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries; and torn to shreds any form of a social contract. So whose lives are we protecting here?"