Friday, May 6, 2016

Unwavering Defense of Life

Rep. Adrian Smith


When we observe the National Day of Prayer each May, millions of Americans join together in a cornerstone of our country’s heritage – gathering freely to worship God and lift our communities, our leaders, and our great nation in prayer.
We are blessed with unparalleled religious freedom in the United States, but we must stay vigilant to protect it. Unfortunately, President Obama’s health care law continues to violate many Americans’ deeply-held beliefs regarding the right to life of the unborn. I share these convictions and will never waver in defending the sanctity of life.
Recently, I joined more than 100 Members of Congress to urge the House Appropriations Committee to include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act in the Fiscal Year 2017 funding bill.
This legislation, of which I am a cosponsor, would protect private businesses, educational institutions, and faith-based organizations from Obamacare mandates requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for drugs or devices which may lead to the destruction of developing human life. The bill’s language would also ensure no health care providers are required to provide or participate in services which contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
In another letter to the Appropriations Committee chairmen, I advocated against the inclusion of any taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood in the Fiscal Year 2017 funding bill. Through the appropriations process, Congress can use its constitutional power of the purse to protect taxpayers from being forced to support an organization whose practices are morally objectionable to so many Americans.
While we work to defend the sanctity of life through the legislative process, the courts remain a leading battleground. In February, I signed a congressional amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold Texas law HB 2 in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March, and a decision is expected next month.
HB 2 requires all Texas abortion clinics to comply with the state’s health and sanitation standards for ambulatory surgical centers. To ensure women can receive hospital care if complications arise, the law also requires any Texas physician performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion clinic.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the Texas law, but the Supreme Court has stayed implementation until it reviews the case. The decision will be a crucial milestone in the abortion debate, as it will determine how abortion facilities are regulated moving forward.
If the Supreme Court strikes down HB 2, other necessary protections such as the federal ban on partial-birth abortion could be revisited and overturned. I am hopeful the lower court’s ruling will be upheld and this sensible law will stand.
As we face challenges to our convictions about the right to life for all persons, we must continue to speak out for the unborn and defend the conscience rights of Americans. Together, we can protect the sanctity of life.

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