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House passes controversial anti-abortion bill

by Adam Russett on October 14, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that aims to amend the health care law in order to bar federal money from going toward health plans that provide abortions. The bill, known as the Protect Life Act, received 251 votes in favor and 170 against, and will now move on to the Senate, according to CNN.

Votes for the bill, which was sponsored by Republican Representative Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, were largely split on partisan lines, with only two republicans voting against it, and 15 democrats voting for it.

Several Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, condemned the bill, saying that Republicans were focusing on a bill that was non-essential while failing to move on more important legislation dealing with jobs and the economy.

"Instead of focusing on jobs, republicans are continuing to wage their war on women," said Democrat Representative Barbara Lee, according to the news source. Pelosi added that passage of the bill would mean that women can "die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene."

Republicans countered, saying that the bill's passage was part of their campaign promise that they made before the 2010 elections.

Many abortion rights advocates say that the bill was not necessary because President Barack Obama had already signed an executive order barring federal funds from being used in any new health care exchanges within the new health care law, according to the news source.

Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said that while the president's executive order did bar federal funds from being used for abortions, the order could be reneged as quickly as it had been issued.

The president released a statement of his own condemning the bill, and saying that he would veto the bill if it passes in the Senate. 

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