Correcting Eliot Spitzer, Rep. Speier, and Mediaite


Earlier tonight I appeared on “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer. Neither Spitzer or Rep. Jackie Speier were fully forthcoming in the facts about federal funding for abortions. I also wish that the times Rep. Speier repeatedly interrupted me were shown as well in the original take, finally prompting my response in the video below, but content must adhere to a clock during broadcast.

Let’s set the record straight and stop this fallacy from continuing further.

The Hyde Amendment is not a permanent, static law. It is a rider that has been attached to budgets previously and was passed by Obama and Democrats in 2009. The Dornan Amendment, also known as the D.C. Hyde Amendment, had language that prevented D.C. taxpayer support of abortion. The omnibus bill, passed by Democrats and signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, overturned the language which prevented taxpayers in Washington D.C. from funding abortions.

The CR proposed by Speaker Boehner would reinstate this, thus keeping with precedence of passing the Dornan Amendment with previous budgets (Obama himself twice supported it as a senator).

There is no guarantee that without this amendment, taxpayer dollars would not go to fund abortions, in fact, they would be allowed.

I’d appreciate an addendum from Mediaite for recognition of this, my point, as well as a correction from Rep. Speier and Eliot Spitzer. It’s disingenuous to the debate to ignore the facts of the matter and perpetuate assumptions.

For further clarification:

With a new pro-life majority and Republican control of the House, pro-life lawmakers are working on a letter they plan to send to their colleague soon urging Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky to reinstate the Dornan amendment. Pro-life Caucus Co-Chairs Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and Dan Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat, are co-writing the letter.

“When the Dornan amendment was overturned in the omnibus spending bill last year, it served as a reminder of the need for permanent bans on federal funding of abortion,” Lipinski said previously.

The dismantling of the abortion funding ban in the nation’s capital is wrapped in a complex but important legislative and constitutional distinction.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress plenary legislative authority over the District of Columbia, including the entire District of Columbia budget that is approved as a part of the annual Financial Services Appropriations bill. This means Congress bears constitutional responsibility for the use of funds raised through District of Columbia local taxes, as well as federal funds allocated for the District of Columbia.

From fiscal years 1996-2009, all funds that Congress approved for D.C. (both “local” and “federal”) were prohibited from use in abortions. Congress rolled back this policy when language was approved to only prohibit the use of “federal” funds for elective abortion by inserting the word “federal” into the Dornan amendment. This change effectively guts the entire policy, because the District of Columbia may now use taxpayer funds to pay for abortion as long as a bookkeeping mechanism is implemented to technically charge abortions to those funds that were “locally” generated.

To restore the Dornan amendment, lawmakers must remove the word “federal” that Democrats and Obama inserted in it to gut the abortion funding ban.


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