Jean M Schmidt

Pro-Life - July 10, 2009

Jean M Schmidt
July 10, 2009— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to shine the light on a subject where I do not believe this administration's actions are living up to its rhetoric. Whether it was said on the campaign trail or in speeches during his time in office, the President has certainly tried to sound reasonable on the issue of life, but the administration's actions belie its words.

During a campaign appearance at the Saddleback Civil Forum with Pastor Rick Warren on August 17, 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama made clear that his goal was to "reduce the number of abortions." In fact, he said that he had inserted this into the Democratic Party platform: "How do we reduce the number of abortions?"

Now, given the administration's expressed support for Roe v. Wade, I never expected, nor do not expect it, to suddenly reverse its course. However, one way to reduce the number of abortions in a way that works and one that is a common-ground issue for the American people is not to allow taxpayer-funded abortions. Violating the consciousness of millions of pro-life Americans to fund a procedure which they object to based on a deeply held religious belief, a moral belief, by allowing taxpayers to fund abortions actually increases the number of abortions performed, according to the Guttmacher Institute through research on Planned Parenthood.

Honoring the deeply held religious and moral beliefs of millions of taxpayers by restricting taxpayer-funded abortions actually decreases abortions by about 30 percent. So that is one way to reduce the number of abortions, something that the President has said he would like to do. But since taking office, this administration has actually worked to increase taxpayer funding for abortions at both home and abroad. The first was the Mexico City Policy.

The Mexico City Policy was first promulgated in 1984 and renewed by the Bush administration in 2001. This is a very simple policy that says, as a condition for receipt of U.S. family planning aid, foreign, nongovernmental organizations and international organizations must certify that they neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. Simply put. This policy says that U.S. taxpayers will not pay to promote abortions overseas, yet one of this administration's first acts back in January was to rescind this Mexico City Policy.


Mrs. SCHMIDT. I want to thank the gentlewoman for her kind words on this very important issue.

Before I turn this over to another gentleperson regarding this issue, I would like to explain to the Speaker one of the situations that we're talking about is the potential funding of abortions for the District of Columbia. And one of the things that I think we might forget is that article I of the U.S. Constitution says that Congress holds complete legislative authority over the District of Columbia, exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever. That is why the entire budget for the District of Columbia, including revenue generated by local sources, must be appropriated by Congress through an annual appropriations bill.

For many years, the annual D.C. appropriations bill contained a provision to prevent the use of any congressionally appropriated funds for the abortions except to save the life of a mother or in the case of rape or incest. This was the so-called Dornan amendment, named after Congressman Dornan, for the fiscal year 1989 appropriations bill that he talked about in 1988. This bill has been in place pretty much consistently over that time. The White House budget document released on May 7, appendix page 1209, asks Congress to repeal the ban on congressionally appropriated funds and replace it with a bookkeeping requirement that would apply only to funds specifically contributed for Federal program purposes.

Now, what I want to point out is this: that while the Dornan amendment was officially put in place in 1989 and was there until 1993, for a few years under the Clinton administration it was relaxed, and what happened during that time was that the funding for abortions in the District of Columbia continued and those funds for abortions actually increased the number of abortions in the District of Columbia. And the way they did it was, according to then Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, they authorized the use of a million dollars from the Medical Charities Fund, which was originally set up to help indigent AIDS patients to pay for those abortions. So back during the Clinton administration when the Dornan amendment was relaxed, specifically prohibiting any money both directly and indirectly into the District of Columbia that was Federal money for the purpose of abortions, when that was relaxed, not only did the number of abortions go up, but they used an alternate funding to actually pay for those abortions. And that's really the focus of what we're talking about tonight.

And before I go back through my history of this new administration since taking office in January, I do want to turn it over to my good colleague from Minnesota, Congresswoman Bachmann.


Mrs. SCHMIDT. Reclaiming my time, I've been to a number of these wonderful pregnancy care centers in my own district, and it's not just offering them the opportunity of a free sonogram, but it's also offering them the opportunity to really help them, not just with their pregnancy but with the delivery and the carrying of that child. And these centers have programs to help educate the moms and the dads on good parenting skills, something that all of us can benefit from. They also work to give them a points program so, as they go through each one of their phases of education, they can earn points so that they can have a free bed, a free bassinet, free clothing, free food. It is a wonderful experience for these young women and these young men, and it really makes them better parents not just for that baby but for future babies, and it builds a stronger relationship in many cases between that mother and that father.

So it's not just pregnancy centers that want these women to have their child but pregnancy centers that reach out and help that woman and the dad with that child, not just through its birth but through the process of its natural life. And at least the ones in my district open their arms to that, and toward the end of all of the pregnancy centers, I really salute them because they're doing a great job.


Mrs. SCHMIDT. Thank you so much, my good friend from Minnesota.

I just want to add that, while the whole issue is a very emotional issue, one of the things that really disturbs me in the whole abortion debate is when minors have abortions without parental consent, because when a minor has an abortion, that means that child has gotten into a family situation, and they're under age. In many States, that's considered statutory rape. In some cases, including in my own district, at Planned Parenthood, which technically is in District One but is in my own community, there are two lawsuits right now with regard to underage children who had abortions, and their parents were not adequately notified about it. So the whole issue of parental notification on anything--on a child's taking an aspirin--is critical.

Back in the 80s, we know that the District of Columbia was very open about abortions. It let folks from other States have abortions. It let minors without parental consent have abortions. I don't think we want to expand on that policy today.

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