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ERLC urges OK of D.C. abortion funding ban

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy entity has encouraged members of Congress to back an effort to rescind government funding of abortion in the country’s capital city.

Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), appealed to nearly 60 House of Representatives members to support a pro-life attempt to reinstitute the Dornan Amendment as federal law.

From 1996 to 2009, the Dornan Amendment barred federal and congressionally approved local funds for the District of Columbia from paying for elective abortions. Congress approved, and President Obama signed into law, in December 2009 an omnibus spending bill with language that said federal funding of abortions in D.C. is prohibited but local money may be used for the procedures.

Pro-lifers, however, have pointed out such language is meaningless in its effect, because federal and local funds are combined for the district. As a result, the D.C. government can specify as local the money used to underwrite abortions.

Reps. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., and Dan Lipinski, D.-Ill., are sending a letter from representatives to the leadership of the Appropriations Committee with a request they prioritize restoration of the Dornan Amendment. Land’s letter urged House members to sign onto the letter by its deadline, Jan. 28.

“We are grieved that abortion proponents would use what is essentially an accounting loophole to subsidize elective abortions in the District with taxpayer funds,” Land wrote Jan. 26.

The letter went to 59 representatives, including all who are members of Southern Baptist churches. It also was sent to House freshmen from the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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