U.S. Senate Approves Pro-Life Amendment
Special Report - March 4, 2008
On February 26, the U.S. Senate voted 52-42 in favor of a pro-life amendment that would permanently ban federal health care programs for American Indians from paying for on-demand abortions. Sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R-La.), the measure is an amendment to S.1200Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2008, a bill that deals with the reauthorization of laws for the federal Indian Health Services program (IHS). According to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), federal funding of abortions through government health care programs for Indians has been prohibited since the early 1980s, but this ban is dependent on whether or not Congress chooses to renew the restrictions when it reauthorizes the IHS.
Specifically, the Vitter amendmentwhich proposes to make these restrictions permanentwould prohibit IHS funds or facilities “to provide any abortion; or to provide, or pay any administrative cost of, any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of an abortion,” except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is at risk.
North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole both voted for the Vitter amendment to S. 1200. The U.S. House is scheduled to take up the issue soon.
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