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Roby offers amendment to limit abortions in District of Columbia

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, U.S. Representative Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, offered an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill, during the full committee markup, that would limit would prevent taxpayer funds from being spent on abortion in the District of Columbia.

Roby’s amendment is known as the Dornan Amendment.

The Dornan Amendment has been in place in some form since 1979. Over the years, some members of Congress have nullified it by insisting it should only govern federal funds and claiming that all locally-collected revenues, such as taxes and fines, are local and not federal. Since the District of Columbia is a federal territory and is uniquely controlled by Congress specifically, all locally-collected funds go to the U.S. Treasury. Those funds must then be appropriated by Congress as laid out in Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

“Calling some federally-appropriated money ‘local’ and therefore eligible to be spent on abortion and some ‘federal’ and not eligible for abortion is just an accounting gimmick to allow the District of Columbia to disregard Congress’ authority and fund abortions, which the District currently permits during all nine months of pregnancy for any reason,” Representative Roby said. “Because of the authority given to Congress by the Constitution, pro-life members are necessarily involved and would be complicit if we allowed the District to fund abortions using ‘local’ funds. I can’t begin to express my concern with these policies and laws surrounding taxpayer dollars being used for the destruction of human life. My amendment upholds the basic duties of government and helps guard the innocent.”

“My amendment prevents taxpayer funds from being spent on abortion with the same exceptions as the Hyde Amendment,” Rep. Roby said. “The Dornan Amendment has been in place in some form since 1979. Over the years, opposing members have nullified it by insisting the ban should only govern “federal” funds and then claiming that all locally-collected revenues, such as taxes and fines, are “local” and not “federal.”

“Due to D.C.’s status as a federal territory, like a federal agency or department which might collect money in the form of sales and fines, all the District’s funds go to the U.S. Treasury, whether collected locally, contributed by the federal government, or from other sources,” said Rep. Roby. “Those funds must then be appropriated by the normal federal appropriations process, as stipulated in the first article of the Constitution.

“Our nation was founded on the belief that every human being has rights, dignity, and value,” Rep. Roby concluded. “Each and every child should be welcomed into life and protected by the law. My amendment upholds the basic duties of government and helps guard the innocent. I ask that you support this amendment.”

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The Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Congresswoman Martha Roby is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. She is currently serving in her fifth term representing Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Roby has been a staunch defender of the rights of the preborn.

To see a video of Roby delivering her comments to Congress, click here.

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