Once again the Biden Administration is partnering with Congressional Democrats to push their radical anti-Life priorities through Congress.
The House of Representatives recently passed these priorities within the Build Back Better Act (also known as H.R. 5376 or the Fiscal Year 2022 Reconciliation Bill). Texas Right to Life is opposed to this legislation because the bill not only lacks any sort of Pro-Life protection, but even targets our most vulnerable populations — preborn children and sick patients.
The Build Back Better Act is gravely dangerous for preborn children. Under President Biden’s leadership, congressional Democrats have stripped H.R. 5376 of two Pro-Life legacy riders: the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment has enjoyed long-standing bipartisan support and has been part of every appropriations bill funding Medicaid since 1976. The Hyde Amendment alone is attributed to saving millions of preborn children’s lives.
The Weldon Amendment, which protects health care professionals and entities from being forced to commit abortions and from discrimination, has been included in every Health and Human Services appropriations bill since 2005.
The Build Back Better Act doesn’t stop with these offenses. This legislation expands Medicaid coverage for currently uncovered populations in Texas starting in 2024, but with the requirement that these plans cover elective abortion and transportation for abortions.
This explicitly supersedes Texas law that prohibits insurance coverage of elective abortion. The bill further states that these newly-funded abortions must be covered at the patient’s choice of provider, meaning sending even more taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood.
Just as in Biden’s Department of Justice lawsuit against the Texas Heartbeat Act, the federal government continues to overreach, attempting to undo valid Pro-Life Texas laws currently in effect.
The legislation also intentionally appropriates billions of dollars outside of traditional funding streams where the Hyde Amendment would provide protection, making this funding available to subsidize elective abortion and abortion providers.
Some of the major concerns with the Build Back Better Act include:
- Millions of dollars to expand the doula workforce, which could include abortion doulas who propagate the lie that abortion is health care.
- Millions of dollars to address maternal mortality with abortion presented as the solution. Maternal mortality is a public health crisis that must be addressed; however, pro-abortion proponents tout abortion as the answer to this crisis, and this funding does not adequately preempt abortion funding.
- Millions of dollars to promote “health equity” in maternal health care and grow the nursing workforce in this subspecialty. The danger here is that funding could be directed for use in telemed abortion and could force health care professionals to participate in abortion against a conscience objection of doing so.
- Millions of dollars for the Job Corps, which, without Hyde Amendment protections, means this money could broadly cover elective abortions.
- Billions in funding to public health grants without Hyde Amendment or Dickey-Wicker Amendment protections. The Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibits federal funding of human embryo research. Without these two Pro-Life amendments, billions of taxpayer dollars could be used to pay for anti-Life training and research.
The Build Back Better Act is not only dangerous for preborn children, but is also dangerous for patients by funding potentially anti-Life hospice and palliative care training. While hospice and palliative care play an important role in medical treatment, the misuse of palliative care and hospice service has blurred the line between pain management and rashly hastening death. There is no Pro-Life language included to clarify that proper palliative care services for the alleviation of suffering should not hasten or impose the patient’s death.
Current federally-funded hospice and palliative care programs are already plagued by fraud and poor provision of care. The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General reports that hospice programs are defrauding Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Beyond this fiscal concern, Pro-Life medical experts and organizations are concerned about the expansion and abuse of the scope of palliative care services. The incentive structure built into the bill would have a potentially dangerous effect on patients’ decisions regarding basic life-sustaining treatment, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, dialysis, and ventilation, encouraging them to forgo other medical treatments in exchange for just hospice or palliative care. This will undermine life-affirming medical practices.
Texas is already the most dangerous state for vulnerable patients because of the anti-Life 10-Day Rule that allows hospitals to withdraw basic life-sustaining care against the patient’s expressed medical decision. We do not need this deadly situation exacerbated by anti-Life federal incentives.
With Congress’ passage of the Build Back Better Act, Pro-Life Texans are now counting on the Senate. We need not only our Texas senators as our voice but also Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), to block this anti-Life bill from advancing to President Biden’s desk. These two Democratic senators have expressed concern over the anti-Life nature of this legislation. The stalwart opposition of these senators is crucial to stop the bill in the Senate.
Texas Right to Life is opposed to the Build Back Better Act until all of these concerns are addressed. This disastrous bill further highlights that we cannot rely on the federal government to protect our vulnerable preborn children. Texas must hold the line and continue to pass strong Pro-Life laws protecting all our citizens from fertilization to natural death.