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No Taxpayer Funding on Abortion Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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I thank the gentlelady.

Henry Hyde was one of the outstanding Members of the House of Representatives in the history of the House of Representatives. He believed intently in a pro-life position, and the remarks of colleagues who support this legislation are ones that I think Mr. Hyde would approve of. But he was also a master legislator, and he understood that other people have a different point of view than he has, and on the matter of abortion, something that is a matter of faith for many people, a matter of conscience for everyone, there are different points of view.

The excellent job that Mr. Hyde did was to take direct taxpayer funding out of the equation. If there were going to be abortions, they were not going to be paid for by taxpayer dollars. This amendment takes it a radical step further. What it does is it says, if there is any tax credit that is part of a health care plan, then this legislation would prohibit a small business from offering that health care plan to its workers.

Now, just think about the enormous burden that is being placed on hundreds, if not thousands, of small businesses in Vermont, on millions of small businesses in this country. Every one of those businesses, where it offers a comprehensive health care plan to their employees that may include abortion services, suddenly has to unravel those plans and deny that coverage to its workers. So what we have is an action by the sponsors of this legislation that would impose its will far beyond what Mr. Hyde ever did or sought to do on every small business in this country.

By the way, there's another issue here, a precedent. If now we're starting to interfere with the use of tax credits, does this mean the next target is what kind of home you buy if you're going to get the use of a taxpayer deduction?

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I thank the gentlelady.

Does it mean that if you're doing research on biotechnology, that the tax credit is going to be restricted and dictated by a majority, whoever it happens to be, of this House of Representatives? The basic question for this Congress is whether we're going to allow the status quo to exist through the Hyde amendment where people can exercise their conscience on this important question, or are we going to have a dictation from this Congress that absolutely and completely prohibits people from making that choice themselves.

The mutual respect that Mr. Hyde understood we needed in this country is really going to be frayed with this legislation. So I would urge Members to vote against this legislation. That's out of respect for the fact that there are sharply different views on this extraordinarily important question.

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