Politics

Sen. Mike Lee introduces four pro-life bills in U.S. Senate

The four bills include the Abortion is not Health Care Act, the Protecting Life in Health Savings Accounts Act, the Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act, and the Guaranteeing the Unborn Access to Respect and Dignity (GUARD) Act

WASHINGTON – Utah Senator Mike Lee recently proposed four bills aimed at safeguarding pro-life efforts within the U.S. Senate.

Lee introduced the four pieces of legislation in tandem with the 2024 March for Life, which saw thousands gather at the National Mall to advocate for unequivocal protection of the unborn.

The four bills introduced by Lee include the Abortion is not Health Care Act, the Protecting Life in Health Savings Accounts Act, the Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act, and the Guaranteeing the Unborn Access to Respect and Dignity (GUARD) Act.

“Each human life, born and unborn, has immeasurable dignity and worth. The lives of both an unborn baby and her mother matter; and healthcare should heal, protect, and preserve both their lives. Our laws and use of taxpayer money should reflect that truth, which is why I have introduced these bills,” Lee said.

The Abortion is not Health Care Act, cosponsored by Senators Hagerty (R-TN), Braun (R-IN), Thune (R-SD), Rubio (R-FL), Daines (R-MT), Cramer (R-ND), Blackburn (R-TN), Hawley (R-MO), and Hyde-Smith (R-MS), seeks to eliminate the tax deductibility of abortion procedures and make it explicit that abortions are not eligible for classification as healthcare.

The IRS currently classifies abortion as medical care and permits tax benefits to be associated with this procedure, this proposed legislation aims to modify Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code, preventing elective abortion costs from qualifying for a medical expense deduction.

The GUARD (Guaranteeing the Unborn Access to Respect and Dignity) Act, cosponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), aims to enforce consistent standards across all branches of the United States military, including the Coast Guard under the Department of Homeland Security.

“Preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions shouldn’t be controversial,” Thune said. “I’m proud to support this legislation that would prohibit U.S. Coast Guard funds and facilities from being used for abortions, which is a blatant overreach from the Biden administration.”

It seeks to eliminate a current loophole that enables the Coast Guard to utilize federal funds for abortion-related activities, aligning its funding practices with the rest of the military.

The GUARD Act would amend Title 14 of the U.S. Code, which would explicitly prohibit the use of federal funds by the Coast Guard for both the performance of abortions and for any travel expenses related to abortion procedures.

The Protecting life in Foreign Assistance Act, cosponsored by 21 other Republican Senators, would ensure that American foreign assistance is not funding or promoting abortions overseas.

The legislation aims to revive the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy initiated by former President Trump. This policy restricts the allocation of international family planning aid to organizations that either offer or endorse abortions, or actively support changes to abortion laws in foreign nations.

“This will sound like common sense to most fair-minded people, but the Biden administration should not ship Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars overseas to fund abortions,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said. “No matter who occupies the White House, America should support life at home and abroad.”

In 2021, Biden revoked the PLGHA, and Lee’s proposed bill aims to enshrine a broader form of the PLGHA policy into law permanently, encompassing all aid extended to both foreign and domestic nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and multilateral entities.

The proposed Protecting Life in Health Savings Accounts, cosponsored by six other Republican senators, seeks to eliminate the special tax treatment afforded to abortion within health savings accounts.

Under existing regulations, individuals can utilize tax-advantaged funds from health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible savings accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs), and retiree health accounts for abortion-related medical expenses.

This bill aims to modify the Internal Revenue Code to expressly prohibit abortions from receiving unique tax benefits when utilizing these accounts.

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