WASHINGTON – Today, during debate on the House Floor of H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) urged his colleagues to vote against the unnecessary legislation. Rep. Conyers delivered the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 7, the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”
“Today, on the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the majority is launching yet another attack on women's health and constitutionally-protected right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
“Most importantly, this bill will make it virtually impossible for a woman to obtain abortion services even when paid for with purely private, non-Federal funds.
“It accomplishes this end by denying tax credits to income-eligible women and small business employers who choose insurance coverage that includes abortion.
“Through its novel tax penalty provisions, H.R. 7 departs radically from existing law, taking away women’s existing health care and placing their health and lives at risk.
“Despite the claims of its sponsors, H.R. 7 does not codify current law and it is notabout the regulation of federal funds.
“There is no federal abortion due to the Hyde Amendment, and the Affordable Care Act maintains that policy and law.
“For more than 30 years, Congress has prohibited federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, through provisions in like the Hyde Amendment in annual appropriations bills.
“Nothing in the Affordable Care Act changes this.
“So what is H.R. 7 really about? Plain and simple, it is an assault on women’s health and freedom.
“Members should understand that a vote for H.R. 7 is not a vote to codify existing law. It is, instead, a vote to attack women’s health and freedom.
“H.R. 7 also eradicates the authority of the District of Columbia to make decisions about how appropriated funds are used for the health care of the District’s citizens.
“If H.R. 7 should become law, the District’s discretion to make the funding decisions that best serve the needs of its residents will be permanently restricted.
“H.R. 7's permanent restriction on the District’s use of its own local funds should be rejected. Women and families who live in the District should not be subject to additional harm simply because of where they live.
“The Administration ‘strongly oppose[d]’ a nearly identical bill last Congress, saying the legislation ‘would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care; increase the financial burden on many Americans; unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today; and restrict the District of Columbia’s use of local funds, which undermines home rule.’
“The fact that this bill has been brought to the Floor at the last minute and that Members are foreclosed from offering any amendments today is yet further proof that this legislation is simply intended to be yet another polemic attack on the Constitution’s protections for certain members of
our society, an attack against our deliberative legislative process, and an attack against the citizens of the District of Columbia.
“Accordingly, I strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this egregious bill and I reserve the balance of my time.”