by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris
April 16, 2021
Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.
Discharge Petition Filed to Bring Born-Alive Bill to the Floor
Yesterday, one of the newly elected pro-life women in 117th Congress, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), filed a procedural motion known as a “discharge petition” in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act up for a vote. If 218 members of Congress sign the petition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be required to hold a vote on the bill. In the previous Congress, Pelosi refused to bring this legislation up for a vote over 80 times.
So far, 205 members have signed the petition, with several more Republican members expected to sign in the coming days. By collecting over 200 signatures in a day, the petition broke the previous record of most signatures. You can track which House members have signed the petition here.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is an important bill that would require medical practitioners to provide the same level of care to an infant that survives an abortion as they would to any other infant born at the same gestational age. Currently, there are no federal protections or mandates to protect these young lives. FRC has worked hard to inform House members about this important issue. In the nine states that require reporting on abortion survivors, FRC found at least 203 cases in which an infant survived a failed abortion.
It is past time for Congress to pass a federal law that protects the lives of infants who have survived abortion. FRC has been monitoring the states that have passed protections and has found that federal law and 32 states do not adequately protect the lives of abortion survivors. We will continue to monitor this issue and push for full legal protection for abortion survivors.
See FRC’s resources for more information on the Born-Alive issue:
HHS Secretary Doubles Down on Abortion Policies in First Committee Hearing
The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to testify on the FY22 budget request. During this hearing, Democratic members raved about how excited they were to see their colleague of 24 years, known for his pro-abortion record, serving as HHS secretary. The FRC team monitored this hearing and applauded those members of the committee who took a stand for the unborn. This includes Congressman Ben Cline (R-Va.), who grilled Secretary Becerra on his abortion record.
Representative Cline urged Becerra to support the Trump administration’s policy banning the use of fetal tissue for federal research. Cline also set the stage for bipartisan support of the Hyde Amendment. After getting Becerra to admit his belief that Roe v. Wade is settled law, Cline reminded the secretary that Hyde, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion, was passed only three years after Roe, and should similarly be considered settled law. It is more important than ever to stand up in defense of life, especially considering the Biden administration’s pro-abortion actions just this week.
Just this past Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they would not be enforcing the safety requirement that chemical abortion pills only be distributed in person. These requirements were put into place to protect women from severe health complications that have been known to arise from the use of abortion pills. Now the Biden administration has taken action that prioritizes pro-abortion ideology over protecting women’s health. On Thursday, HHS followed up on the FDA’s announcement by proposing the removal of pro-life protections in the Title X Family Planning Program. Removing these protections would allow pro-abortion entities that refused to abide by them (entities like Planned Parenthood) to receive Title X funding.
The Biden administration’s intent to dismantle federal law that protects life was on full display this week, but do not be dismayed. The pro-life community has many opportunities to hold this administration accountable.
See FRC’s resources for more information on Becerra:
Paycheck Fairness Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) by the slim margin of 217-210. This bill undermines its well-intentioned goal of creating fair wages for men and women by redefining sex in a way that is harmful to women and ignores the biological realities of men and women.
In the Equality Act and women’s sports debates, we are already seeing the harm gender identity ideology poses to women’s rights, privacy, and safety. If it were to become law, the Paycheck Fairness Act could mandate employers to fund hormones or surgeries as a “treatment” for gender dysphoria and abortions as a benefit to employees. The FRC team worked quickly to inform members about the negative implications of this bill before the vote this week.
Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week:
- The Senate Judiciary Committee held a nomination hearing on the nominations of Kristen Clarke to be the associate attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke has perpetuated the left-wing narrative that Bible-believing Christians are bigoted and discriminatory. Her pro-LGBT efforts in law underscore her disregard for the First Amendment right to religious liberty.
- The Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Andrea Joan Palm to be a deputy secretary of HHS and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both nominees have close ties to Planned Parenthood and have been endorsed by the abortion industry for their forceful support of abortion.
- The House Oversight Committee held a markup of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which seeks to make D.C. a state. This effort has a host of problems, primarily that it does not reflect our Founders’ intention for the federal seat of government to be independent of any one state in the Union. This markup sets up a likely vote on this bill next week.