WASHINGTON (BP) — The effort to remove the federal government from the abortion business failed Thursday (Jan. 17) in the U.S. Senate.
Senators voted, 48-47, to bring the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act to the floor for a vote on final passage. But the roll call fell far short of the 60 votes needed to succeed in the procedural move known as invoking cloture.
The proposal, S. 109, would establish a permanent, government-wide ban on funds for abortions by standardizing the prohibitions that now exist in various federal programs. The bill also would block federal money for abortion coverage under the 2010 health-care law and guarantee full disclosure of abortion funding by health insurance plans that are part of the controversial arrangement.
The new, pro-choice majority in the House of Representatives — controlled by Democrats as a result of the November election — also stood in the way of congressional passage of the bill. The White House, however, had announced President Trump’s support for the measure Jan. 17.
The vote came on the final day of Evangelicals for Life, a conference sponsored by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), in the Washington, D.C., area, and on the eve of the annual March for Life in the capital. The ERLC listed the ban on federal funding of abortion as a policy goal in its 2019 legislative agenda announced Jan. 16.
ERLC President Russell Moore told Baptist Press, “The failed vote in the Senate to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding abortion, while disheartening, will not deter those of us committed to the cause of human dignity for the unborn. We must redouble our efforts to foster a culture where women and children in crisis are cared for and all human life is cherished.“
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. — a Southern Baptist and the sponsor of the bill — described the vote as “an important step” despite the defeat.
“The vote was successful in putting each senator on record on the question of taxpayer funding for abortion,” Wicker said in a written statement. “I will continue to pursue this legislation because tax dollars should never be used to fund a practice so many find reprehensible.”
The roll call divided largely along party lines. Only two Democrats — Sens. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — voted in favor, while only two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — cast votes in opposition. Five GOP members did not vote.
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Source: Baptist Press