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House Approves Bill That Would Bar Federal Funding For Abortions

A bill that would prohibit using federal money to pay for "any abortion" or for "health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion" has been approved by the House.

The bill passed by a vote of 242-179. Titled the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015, it was introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., and others, including Speaker John Boehner.

Its stipulations include:

"No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for any abortion."

Approval of the bill comes on the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. A similar bill was approved one year ago.

The measure has not been approved in the Senate. Its approval in the House comes one day after the body's Republican leaders decided to shelve a proposed ban on "almost all abortions at 20 weeks post-conception," as the Two-Way reported last night.

The bill sparked a spirited debate on the House floor, as C-SPAN's transcript shows.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., told her colleagues:

"Give me one example where federal taxpayer dollars have been used to pay for abortions. I haven't heard that example, and it's because it's not happening. This is a false issue that's being raised. So I would submit to everybody here, let's stop talking about this false issue just because there are a whole bunch of people in town who want us to pass some legislation. Let's talk about some real issues."

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., noted that Americans are horrified by the loss of life in crises around the world:

"And then in our own country, we have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the lives of 56 million unborn children. These are lives that were lost that did not have to be lost. I know there is a law that says they have the right to make that decision. It may be legal but I don't think it's right. As far as giving a gift to the half or million — or million — half a million or so people who are in Washington today for the pro-life march. This is not a gift from the Republican Party to these people; this is a gift from the Creator himself on reproduction."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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