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House Approves Abortion-Related Measures

On September 18, the House approved H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, and H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The measures were introduced in response to controversial videos involving several affiliates of Planned Parenthood of America and the availability of fetal tissue for medical research.

Defund Planned Parenthood Act

Sponsored by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), H.R. 3134 would place a one-year moratorium on federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) unless PPFA and its affiliates certify that they will not perform any abortions or provide funds to entities that perform abortions during that period, except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

The Department of Health and Human Services would be required to seek repayment of such funds from PPFA affiliates that do perform abortions during the one-year ban on funding.

The House approved the bill by a vote of 241-186.

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Under H.R. 3504, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), medical professionals who fail to provide medical assistance to a fetus that survives an abortion procedure could be subject to criminal charges and civil penalties. Specifically, medical professionals would be required to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” Individuals who fail to so do would be subject to fines and/or up to five years in prison.

Women who undergo abortions would not be subject to prosecution under the bill, but would be permitted to seek civil penalties against the medical professionals who fail to comply with the law.

The House approved the bill by a vote of 248-177.

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