Washington D.C., Jan 6, 2017 / 02:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the 115th Congress is underway, a pro-life group is touting a new means of holding pro-life members accountable — a scorecard.
“The Scorecard will help ensure accountability of Members to their constituents while identifying true defenders of the unborn in U.S. Congress,” March for Life Action announced on Wednesday. “At March for Life Action we aren't just looking for politicians who vote pro-life - we are looking for pro-life champions in the mold of Henry Hyde,” Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the pro-life group March for Life Action, stated.
Hyde was a congressman who successfully inserted into federal policy a prohibition on Medicaid dollars funding abortions. The Hyde Amendment has been supported by members of Congress in both parties for 40 years. Other advocacy groups, including National Right and Life and Planned Parenthood Action, use scorecards to inform voters of how members of Congress vote on various issues.
March for Life Action hopes to not only record pro-life votes, but also to record initiatives by members such as sponsorship of pro-life bills and speaking out about a pro-life matter on the House or Senate floor. McClusky noted that “we aren't just looking to maintain the pro-life status quo by only tallying votes.”
A stream of pro-life legislation is expected to come up in Congress after the change of presidential administrations. President-elect Donald Trump made promises on the campaign trail that he would sign pro-life legislation into law, including the defunding of Planned Parenthood by federal tax dollars because it is the nation’s largest abortion provider. However, he had also praised Planned Parenthood early in 2016 as doing “very good work” for women.
Vice president-elect Mike Pence enjoys the backing of pro-life groups for his pro-life record as a congressman, from 2001 to 2013. One of the first bills expected to come up in Congress is the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would expand prohibitions of federal funding of abortions and solidify the Hyde Amendment’s policy, which has been passed every year by Congress as a rider to appropriations bills, as permanent federal law.
“We are hoping our first score will be on the House of Representatives putting forth and passing No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act during the month of January,” McClusky said.
A Knights of Columbus/Marist poll from earlier in 2016 showed 62 percent of Americans opposing taxpayer funding of abortion. That poll also demonstrated that 78 percent of respondents “support substantial restrictions on abortion” and want it limited to at least the first term of pregnancy. Other bills that are expected soon include a pain-capable bill banning abortions when the unborn baby has been found to feel pain, at around 20 weeks of pregnancy. The House has previously passed a pain-capable bill and voted to defund Planned Parenthood, but both initiatives failed to receive the necessary votes to move through the Senate.