Please encourage your Congressperson to sign the letter asking Appropriations Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks to reinstate the prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion in the District of Columbia (D.C.), commonly known as the Dornan Amendment. This effort is being led by Pro-life Caucus Co-Chairs Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).

The DEADLINE to sign the letter is close of business on January 28, 2011. Members of Congress may contact the office of Rep. Chris Smith or Rep. Dan Lipinski to be added to the letter.

Pursuant to Article I of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has plenary legislative authority over the District of Columbia. As a part of that authority, the entire District of Columbia budget is approved by the Congress as a part of the annual Financial Services Appropriations bill. This means that 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.

For Fiscal Years 1996–2009 (FY96-09), all funds that Congress approved for D.C. (both “local” and “federal”) were prohibited from being used for elective abortion. This policy is sometimes referred to as the Dornan Amendment. However, Congress rolled back this policy for Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) when language was approved to only prohibit the use of “federal” funds for elective abortion by inserting the word “federal” into the Dornan amendment (as shown below). This change effectively guts the entire policy, because D.C. 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. This is a marked departure from the policy included from FY96-09 during which time NO congressionally appropriated funds were permitted to be used to pay for elective abortion in D.C.

To restore the Dornan amendment to the FY96-09 language, the word federal must be removed from the amendment.

“None of the federal funds appropriated under this Act shall be expended for any abortion except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”

Last week Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) reintroduced, H.R. 217, the “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,” with a total of 122 cosponsors (including Pence) []. Bill text for H.R. 217 has not yet been posted online, but the text of H.R. 217 is identical to the language introduced by Rep. Pence in the last Congress (H.R. 614).

This legislation prevents federal family planning money under Title X from going to any organization if they perform abortions and ensures that American taxpayers are not forced to subsidize the abortion industry by funding organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Please see the statement by Mr. Pence below. You can click on the link to see video of the statement.

Pence Introduces Bill to Deny Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood with 122 Cosponsors

“It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion. It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad.
“Last year, Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants and contracts. During that same time, they performed an unprecedented 324,008 abortions.

“The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X.

“The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act will prevent any family planning funds under Title X from going to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that perform abortions. It will ensure that abortion providers are not being subsidized with federal tax dollars.

“I am grateful for the support of more than 122 original co-sponsors of this important legislation and look forward to voting to enact the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.”

The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act would not reduce the total amount of funds available for family planning; it would simply block funding to organizations that perform abortions. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services, and there are a number of federally funded clinics across the nation that offer beneficial services including patient counseling, breast cancer screenings, HIV prevention education and more.

Last year alone, according to Planned Parenthood’s own annual report, it received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants and contracts. During that same time frame, they performed an unprecedented 324,008 abortions, a 5.8 percent increase from the previous year. The nation’s largest abortion provider is also under investigation in multiple states including Indiana, California, Alabama and Tennessee for allegations of fraudulent use of Title X funding.