The Senate has passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill in a tight vote of 50-49, without the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment provisions, which would have prevented the bill from including federal taxpayer funding for abortion. After some changes in the Senate, the bill will now go back to the House for a final vote.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser noted in a press release that pro-abortion lawmakers “exploited COVID-19 relief to expand taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, breaking with more than four decades of bipartisan consensus” though most Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. “The so-called American Rescue Plan is disastrous for unborn children and their mothers,” she added.
The House passed the relief bill in late February, which pro-life groups referred to as a “slush fund” for the abortion industry. At that time, Live Action News reported, “Pro-life lawmakers in the House and Senate have pledged to uphold the Hyde Amendment. However, pro-abortion House leadership says they will pass COVID relief bills on a simple majority vote, with or without bipartisan support, according to the National Catholic Register.”
Republican senators pushed for the Hyde Amendment to be applied to the COVID relief bill but were unsuccessful. Three Democrat also senators voted against the bill. The Hyde Amendment is a 40-year-old rider that prohibits Medicaid and other federal dollars from being spent on abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother’s health.
“It is no surprise that this bill has not earned a single Republican voter,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. “This is no way to govern, and I strongly oppose this legislation.” She said the bill was “full of unnecessary spending that will overheat the economy at a time when infections are dropping nationwide.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R) said Friday that he was “successful” in ensuring the Senate coronavirus relief bill excluded a provision that would have allowed funding from the COVID Paycheck Protection Program to be given to Planned Parenthood locations. According to Fox News, Paul’s office said he “forced” the pro-Planned Parenthood provision to be removed because it “was always intended for small businesses” not America’s largest abortion chain.
READ: Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates refuse to return COVID-19 relief funds
The House passed its version of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with a provision to treat individual Planned Parenthood locations as “separate and distinct entities” in order to skirt the rules. In doing so, it allowed Planned Parenthood affiliates to be eligible for federal assistance under the paycheck protection program (PPP). Fox News said that according to its sources, the pro-abortion majority in the Senate planned to waive the affiliation rules for nonprofits in order to allow paycheck protection loans to go to Planned Parenthood facilities. But Paul said that would “only benefit” Planned Parenthood.
The “original congressional intent” of the PPP was to limit large and well-financed organizations from receiving a loan, noted Paul’s office. The point was to provide financial relief to small businesses which had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Planned Parenthood is a multi-million dollar operation, with assets totaling more than $2 billion.
According to Fox News, before a decision was made regarding Pauls’ arguments, the pro-abortion Senate majority decided to file an updated version of the bill without the provision.
In 2020, 43 Planned Parenthood affiliates received millions of dollars through the PPP despite the abortion corporation’s ineligibility for the program. Members of Congress called on the Small Business Administration to investigate and halt that funding, saying in a letter, “At least 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally obtained more than $80 million in taxpayer funds during the initial rounds of PPP by self-certifying their eligibility for the program. In response, the SBA determined that these affiliates were ineligible to receive PPP loans and issued letters informing them of the consequences of false certifications of eligibility, including repayment of loans, loss of loan forgiveness, and other civil and criminal penalties.”
Some of the Planned Parenthood affiliates that received millions of dollars have been caught in scandals — including Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, which was involved in the fetal body parts trafficking scandal exposed in 2015. That affiliate received between $5 million and $10 million in COVID-19 relief funds. Other scandal-ridden Planned Parenthoods that each received millions in funding included Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
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