The following blog post is by Family Council staff member Luke McCoy.
Arkansas and 32 other states have successfully passed legislation prohibiting taxpayer funds from being used for certain abortions, excluding a minority of abortions from rape, incest and a mother’s ability to survive the pregnancy.
The Hyde Amendment, which is the federal provision that prohibits certain federal taxpayer funds from being used for certain abortions originated in 1976 and has been attached to federal appropriation bills throughout the years. With that said we can rest easy knowing taxpayer money is not used for abortions in those 33 states and focus on other pro-life measures, right? Don’t get comfortable yet.
The most recent state to use otherwise banned taxpayer funds for abortion is Colorado. What does this have to do with Arkansas, you ask? Arkansas and Colorado have similar wording in their amendments prohibiting publicly-funded abortions, and both were approved by the voters of their respective states.
This past October, the legal ministry Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit against Colorado state officials and Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood (RMPP) for blatantly ignoring Colorado’s Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment of 1984. That amendment prohibits state taxpayer money from being used for subsidizing abortions, either directly or indirectly. RMPP was audited in 2001, and as a result funding to RMPP ceased after it was found taxpayer money was indirectly subsidizing abortions. Yet current Governor Hickenlooper and 2 state officials with the Colorado Department of Health at some point within the last two years allegedly ignored that amendment and audit by unilaterally reinstating those once ceased taxpayer funds to RMPP.
Here in Arkansas, we have seen abortion providers apply to receive public tax dollars through the state. Sometimes the money flows through the state from the federal government, but at the end of the day, abortion providers are receiving public tax dollars. Even if that money is not used specifically to pay for abortions, it helps the abortion clinics stay in business, and indirectly subsidizes abortions. That’s why Arkansas needs a law specifically preventing abortion providers from receiving public funds.
With such powerful state bureaucrats across the nation, it would be naive to think unlawful funding of abortions never happens. State agency directors in many states have become entrenched in their position and carry a lot of power and influence. But how bold is it to take the life of another defenseless human being such as a baby in the womb while knowingly breaking the law and ignoring a Colorado voter-approved amendment prohibiting such acts? The need to keep accountability on our elected and appointed officials with any matter regarding abortion never rests. Be assured of this: the assault on pro-life values will cease no time soon. We at Family Council are committed to making sure people are aware of not only the victories the pro-life movement achieves but also the victories of our pro-choice counterparts.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.