Guided by my faith, I am committed to protecting the most vulnerable among us. I believe we all have a moral responsibility to defend the right to life, which begins at conception.
I have co-sponsored the following bills that will strengthen protections for the unborn:
H.R. 243, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. This legislation would prohibit the federal government from providing family planning grants to entities that perform abortions or provide funds to entities that perform abortions. To further emphasize my opposition to Title X funding used for this purpose as it also violates the rights of health care providers, I signed a letter addressed to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and will continue to press this important issue.
H.R. 188, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act. This act would amend the Social Security Act to clarify that States have an ability to deny funding to abortion providers through state Medicaid programs.
H.R. 28, the Protecting Life in Crisis Act. This legislation would prohibit any money allocated for COVID-19 relief from going toward abortions or abortion coverage.
H.R. 18, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. This act would make permanent the long-standing Hyde Amendment to ensure no federal dollars are used to pay for abortion and health plans that include abortion.
H.R. 619, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This act would require an abortion provider to treat a baby who accidentally or otherwise survives an abortion, with the same level of life-sustaining care as a child born prematurely would receive. As a proud co-sponsor, I also signed a discharge petition, whereby if a majority of representatives (at least 218) sign, it would start a process to force the bill out of committee and to the House floor for a vote.
H.R. 606, No Abortion Bonds Act. This legislation would remove the tax-exempt status of any bond that goes to an abortion provider or to finance an abortion clinic.
H.R. 552, the Second Chance at Life Act. This act would ensure that a woman seeking a chemical abortion is informed that it may be possible to reverse the intended effects of the abortion if the woman changes her mind. I also remain deeply concerned about the potential health impacts on women who undergo chemical abortions. On April 22, 2021 I joined many of my pro-life colleagues in writing to the Food and Drug Administration to express our concerns on their decision not to enforce the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for mifepristone, the first part of a two-drug chemical abortion process for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and after it ends.
H.R. 541, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act. This legislation would prohibit Planned Parenthood or its affiliated entities from receiving federal dollars unless they certify that they will not perform nor support other entities that perform abortion.
H.R. 581, the Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act. This legislation would require states to report accurate abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every year and penalize states that withhold or falsify such information.
H.R. 1080, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which simply put would protect pain-capable unborn children.
In June, I joined many of my colleagues to strongly oppose the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), or any federal agency for that matter, using our hard earned federal taxpayer money to pay for sex change surgeries. I also insisted that VA Secretary Denis McDonough provide assurances that existing policies that STOP the VA from paying for abortion or abortion-related services are not changed. I believe the VA’s mission must be served with focus on helping veterans and not be used as a pawn to advance President Biden’s left-wing agenda.
Soon after this, on July 1, 2021, I also joined more than 150 of my colleagues in signing a letterto HHS Secretary Becerra in response to several deeply concerning statements he made at congressional hearings, in which he denied the existence of, or refused to acknowledge current U.S. laws banning partial birth abortions.
Protections in Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill:
In January, I joined many of my colleagues in communicating to Congressional leadership our strong opposition to repealing the Hyde Amendment, which protects funding made available through the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, from being used to pay for abortions. In April, I again echoed my continued support for Hyde protections.
Along with my continued support for pro-life Hyde protections, I have also strongly urged the House Appropriations Committee to protect similar policies that have been enacted on a bipartisan basis in annual appropriations bills. These policies are as follows:
Smith (NJ) Amendment: protects taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions for federal employees.
Dornan Amendment: prevents federal and local funds from being used to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.
Abortion Funding for Prisoners Amendment: protects taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions for federal prisoners.
Helms Amendment: protects federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions overseas.
Weldon Amendment: protects the decisions of physicians, nurses, clinics, hospitals, medical centers, and health insurance providers who choose not to participate in elective abortion based on their deeply held moral or religious convictions.
I will continue to urge Congressional appropriators to include language to provide protections for our most vulnerable population, the unborn, as the process continues.
I also requested that any allocation of taxpayer funding for non-governmental organizations that perform, actively promote, or lobby for elective abortion be REDIRECTED elsewhere when considering the upcoming State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Act.
TAKING ISSUE WITH BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL TO HIDE ABORTION COVERAGE IN HEALTH INSURANCE
I joined a number of my Congressional colleagues in signing a public comment letter in opposition to HHS’ proposed rule which would allow Affordable Care Act plans to embed an abortion surcharge within a health insurance plan’s monthly premium, making it difficult for policy holders to identify whether the plan they are purchasing includes coverage for elective abortion. The Trump Administration was right, Americans deserve to know this information and make informed decisions that do not compromise their conscience or religious views, period.
COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
It’s a tragic reality that millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide and placed into forced labor, the sex trade, or drug smuggling. As this issue plagues our country, border, and our state, confronting it remains a top priority to me.
That’s why I added my name as a co-sponsor of H.R. 233, the Exposing the Financing of Human Trafficking Act. This bipartisan bill would require the U.S. Department of State to include as a criterion in its Trafficking In Person (TIP) Report each country’s commitment to investigate, prevent, and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with human trafficking. By strengthening TIP reporting requirements, we will be able to continue to improve our efforts to combat trafficking both domestic and abroad.
I have also co-sponsored H.R. 332, the bipartisan Reducing the Demand for Human Trafficking Act. This legislation would empower state and local law enforcement officials to reduce the demand-side of human trafficking by seeking out those who purchase or solicit these trafficking services and holding them accountable for their crimes by creating a grant for state and local law enforcement that are prioritizing their own efforts to reduce demand. Under current law, buyers are not held to the same scrutiny of anti-trafficking statutes as suppliers. I believe this needs to be corrected as studies have shown demand-reduction to be a proven and effective prevention strategy. To effectively combat human and sex trafficking, we must equip our law enforcement officers with the tools they need to cut off demand and to hold those who are responsible accountable for their crimes.
I also want to point out how much I appreciate that Governor Bill Lee and our state representatives are also doing their part. The Tennessee FY21-22 budget included over $5 million in funding for key groups fighting human trafficking and supporting victims. If you suspect someone you know is involved in human trafficking, you can call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484.