Roger Marshall’s bill freezes COVID-19 funds for abortion

Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall introduced a law on Thursday that banned the use of any funding for COVID-19 relief for abortion services.

The text of the bill states that no federal funds authorized “for the purpose of preventing, preparing for or responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, nationally or internationally … shall not be spent on an abortion”.

The bill includes an exception to this prohibition for cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and for cases where the pregnancy puts the woman’s life in danger.

Marshal, an OB-GYN from Great Bend, strongly underscored his anti-abortion stance during his successful Senate race against Democrat Barbara Bollier, a doctor who has long defended the right to abortion.

“Being pro-life is part of who I am and there is no other alternative. As an obstetrician, it has been a pleasure of my life to be able to give birth to thousands of babies and now it is a pleasure of my life to be in the United States Senate and continue the fight for pro-life policies. Marshall said in a statement.

Marshall’s Bill is essentially a pandemic version of the Hyde Amendment, a piece of legislation that dates back to the 1970s and has been attached to many bills in order to to restrict federal funds from going to abortion providers.

The bill is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it sends a message about the type of legislation Marshall, who served two terms in the United States House, will pursue as a senator.

Abortion rights supporters criticized Marshall’s proposal as misguided and petty during a health crisis.

“It is an insult to the Kansans that Senator Marshall’s first bill seeks to impose more restrictions on essential health care in the midst of a pandemic,” said Rachel Sweet, regional director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.

“The Kansans need immediate health and economic assistance, and they need it without politicians trying to exploit a severe global health crisis to advance their anti-abortion agenda.”

The invoice comes as President Joe Biden to sign series of executive orders which will reverse anti-abortion policies enacted under former President Donald Trump, including changes to the Title X program that cost Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers millions of dollars in federal grants.

“As those on the far left, including in the new administration, continue to advocate against human life, I will continue to do what Kansans sent me to Washington to do: continue my lifelong fight for good. -be mothers and their babies and work to end the practice of abortion, ”said Marshall.

Marshall was one of a handful of senators vote to overturn Biden’s electoral victories in Arizona and Pennsylvania hours after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in a riot that left five dead.

The legislation suggests that Marshall will look into fighting over social issues as a member of the Senate. Marshall’s GOP predecessor, former Senator Pat Roberts, was known more for his interest in agriculture than cultural battles.

Eight Senate Republicans signed on as co-sponsors, including Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran, the senior member of the Kansas delegation.

In addition to Moran, Marshall’s GOP co-sponsors include Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, Montana Senator Steve Daines, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, Carolina Senator North Thom Tillis, Indiana Senator Mike Braun and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

This story was originally published January 28, 2021 at 12:16 pm.

Bryan Lowry is White House Correspondent at McClatchy. He’s previously covered Congress for the Kansas City Star. He has also reported on state policy in Missouri and Kansas for The Star and The Wichita Eagle, contributing to The Star 2017 Project on State Government Secrecy in Kansas, a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

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