With a vote expected Thursday on H.R. 8373 - the Democrat-crafted Right to Contraception Act - Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., warns that there is much more to the legislation than its name suggests and warns opponents of abortion to be on guard about the measure.
"No one is threatening contraception," Smith told Newsmax on Wednesday evening, "But language embedded in this bill could undermine gains the pro-life cause gained under Presidents [Ronald] Reagan and [Donald] Trump."
Smith, who says he plans to speak out Thursday against the measure offered by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., explained that under the measure, a future pro-life president "would be barred from reestablishing the Protect Life Rule or any similar policy."
The Protect Life Rule was put into effect by former President Trump in February 2019. According to Smith, it restored former President Reagan's "modest Title X rule that prohibited taxpayer funding of the hundreds of family planning clinics that are co-located with abortion clinics."
Title X of the Public Health Service Act authorized taxpayer funds to assist "voluntary family planning projects" but also banned federal funds from being spent in "programs where abortion is a method of family planning".
Recalling that this "didn't happen" as Title X was being administered, Smith pointed out that Reagan in 1988 issued a rule that "included physical separation of abortion clinics from federally-funded family planning clinics."
Upheld by the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan (1991), Reagan's policy of separating abortion activities from family-planning clinics was maintained in Trump's Protect Life Rule in 2019. President Joe Biden, however, overturned the rule last October.
Under the language Section 4(b)(1) in the Right to Contraception Bill now before the House, Smith told Newsmax the guarantee that family planning clinics are not co-located in the same building with abortion clinics would be "absolutely prohibited."
It is almost a certainty that other lawmakers will take up this issue as the House moves toward a vote on the Right to Contraception measure.
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