I was reminded in very stark terms earlier this month why we must keep the government from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion services. Scanning the morning news headlines on a cold January day, I came across a media report which noted that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America received $487.4 million in tax dollars from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. During that same time period, according to its own annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,455 abortions.
Without a doubt, these are troubling facts, and as a member of Congress I remain as committed as ever to pro-life policies. It is my belief that the gift of life is a God-given right bestowed upon each and every one of us at the moment of conception, and that the act of abortion is a serious violation of this inherent right that targets our most vulnerable population--unborn children.
It is impossible to comprehend the number of lives that were never given a chance to flourish because they were destroyed. I will continue to fight to end such practices and to stand up for the unborn. I was pleased that the House of Representatives passed numerous pieces of pro-life legislation in the First Session of the 112th Congress, including two measures I would like to discuss with you.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, of which I was an original co-sponsor, establishes a permanent government-wide ban on federal funding of abortion. This legislation would replace the need for annual funding prohibitions -- or "riders" -- on such funds. It is my belief that American taxpayers should not have to worry that their tax dollars are being used to fund abortions.
I also was a supporter of the Protect Life Act, approved by the House, to prohibit federal funds from being used to cover any costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. This legislation would prevent federal funding for abortion or abortion coverage through the government-related exchanges, community health centers, OPM administered plans or any other program authorized or appropriated under the Obama health-care law that I opposed.
The Protect Life Act also strengthens federal conscience laws. Federal conscience laws have existed since 1973 and have protected many health-care providers from discrimination because of their religious and moral values. Conscience amendments, like the Hyde/Weldon amendment, have been renewed year after year, and I believe it is wrong that any sort of health-care bill could pass through Congress without such protections. While I remain opposed to the president's health-care law, and am working to repeal it, I believe it makes sense to amend the law to protect those that stand true to their pro-life convictions.
As many of you know, this is not a new issue for me. I was part of a vocal, bipartisan majority when serving as a member of the Missouri House in Jefferson City that opposed the use of state dollars for abortion. Those battles, which were fought against a popular Democratic governor, demonstrated to me that pro-life legislators of all political stripes can come together to defend the rights of the unborn. The lessons I learned back then have proven invaluable during my last three years in Congress in the important battle against state-sponsored abortion. I will continue to work in the months ahead to ensure that innocent lives are protected and treated with dignity and respect.