GOP Challenges Use of Federal Funds for Abortion

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FIRST ON DAILY SIGNAL: Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Okla., is leading Republican lawmakers in introducing two pieces of pro-life legislation challenging President Joe Biden’s efforts to increase the number of abortions.

“Following the historic Dobbs decision, the Biden administration has deliberately ignored federal law in order to pursue its far-left, pro-abortion agenda—all without the authority of Congress,” Brecheen told The Daily Signal, referring to the June 2022 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade “These bills are needed to fight back against the Biden administration’s war against life.” 

The No Abortion Coverage for Medicaid Act addresses a move by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow states to access federal funds for abortion. In August 2022, shortly after the overturning of Roe, CMS sent a letter inviting states to use federal funds under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act to help promote abortions.

Brecheen argues that that’s a clear violation of congressional intent, since the Hyde Amendment bans federal funds from being used for abortions. The Oklahoma lawmaker’s legislation would amend Section 1115 of the Social Security Act to clarify that the Department of Health and Human Services can’t approve applications or extensions for Medicaid projects that provide funding for abortion or benefits that include abortion, such as travel expenses incurred while obtaining an abortion.

The congressman also introduced legislation Monday, the ‘‘No Taxpayer Abortions for Unaccompanied Minors Act,” which would prohibit the secretary of Health and Human Services from “issuing, finalizing, implementing, or enforcing any rule or guidance to facilitate abortions or access to abortions for an unaccompanied alien child.”

Both pieces of legislation are cosponsored by Republican Reps. Trent Kelly of Mississippi, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Bob Good of Virginia, Doug LaMalfa of California, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Mary Miller of Illinois, Ashley Hinson of Iowa, John Moolenaar of Michigan, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, and Randy Weber of Texas.

The latter bill follows GOP senators’ condemnation of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s proposed “Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule.” Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma led their colleagues in accusing that office of violating the Hyde Amendment as well.

“Instead of adhering to the law, responding to congressional inquiry, heeding Congress’ warning, and treating unaccompanied minors with the dignity and respect they deserve as young mothers, HHS ORR has decided to codify these flagrant violations of the Hyde Amendment through the proposed rule,” the senators wrote.

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