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
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.