Pro-life members of Congress this week sent U.S. President Donald Trump two companion letters requesting that he veto any legislation that would weaken current federal pro-life policies and promising to sustain any such veto.
A total of 169 members of the House of Representatives and 49 Senators signed the respective letters.
“We ask President Donald Trump to continue to his work in defense of life. My colleagues and I are also committed to protecting both unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who led the House letter, in a statement.
Smith added that he was “deeply encouraged” that there were 169 members of the House of Representatives who signed the letter willing to sustain a veto “on the grounds that any pro-life provision has been weakened or removed.”
“We will not allow hard fought protections for the unborn to be undone,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). “I stand strongly in defense of the President’s pro-life victories and will continue to work with my colleagues to advance our pro-life agenda.”
Daines was the leader of the Senate letter.
While both letters offered praise for Trump’s various pro-life policies throughout his time in office, the House letter emphasized the importance of the Hyde Amendment and the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, both of which restrict taxpayer funding for abortions domestically and abroad.
Recently, House Democrats passed a spending bill containing language that would overturn the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. They have also pledged to work to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funding of abortion in most cases.
The Senate letter focused on conscience rights for healthcare professionals, and requested that taxpayer funding under Title X (family planning) not go to “facilities that perform or refer for abortion.”
In May, the Trump administration instituted new policies that forbade Title X funds from going to organizations like Planned Parenthood. This move was touted as a “major victory” by pro-life advocates.
Similar pro-life letters were sent to Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush when they were in office. President H.W. Bush then proceeded to issue three pro-life vetoes, and all three were upheld by the House of Representatives.