5:18 PM EDT
Joe Pitts, R-PA 16th

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the DeLauro amendment. This amendment has been offered and defeated for the last 5 years, but our pro-choice colleagues are at it again. In effect, it would force taxpayers to fund abortion. The pro-life language which this would strike prevents taxpayer funds from paying for abortions in Federal employee health benefit plans except when the life of the mother is in danger or in cases of rape and incest. [Page: H6659]

In 1998, the Federal Government contributed on the average 72 percent of the money toward the purchase of health insurance for its employees. Because taxpayers are the employers of Federal workers, employers determine the benefits employees get. And a large majority of taxpayers do not want their tax dollars to be used to pay for abortion.

Mr. Chairman, should taxpayers be forced to underwrite the cost of abortions for Federal employees regardless of their income? According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, only 23 percent of those polled said that national health care plans should cover abortions, while 72 percent said those costs should be paid for directly by the women who have them.

When an ABC News/Washington Post poll asked Americans if they agree or disagree with the statement, ``The Federal Government should pay for an abortion for any women who wants it and cannot afford to pay it,'' 69 percent disagreed.

The Center for Gender Equality has reported that 53 percent of women favor banning abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions. The pro-life language in the bill that the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DELAURO) seeks to gut includes these exceptions. Obviously, if 53 percent of women favor banning abortion aside from these exceptions, then they would not want their tax dollars paying for abortion on demand as this amendment intends.

In a Gallup poll from May of last year, 71 percent of Americans supported some or total restrictions on abortion.

For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the DeLauro amendment.