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Boebert bill would bar government help for immigrants seeking out-of-state abortion

All three of Colorado’s Republican representatives support the proposal
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks Saturday evening Sept. 10, 2022, during Club 20 Western Colorado Candidate Debates at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Boebert debated her opponent Adam Frisch, a Western Slope Democrat. Boebert is trying to pass a bill that would block the federal government from transporting immigrants across state lines to receive an abortion. (William Woody/Colorado Newsline)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado introduced a bill this week that would block the federal government from transporting immigrants across state lines to receive an abortion, and she has co-sponsor support from fellow Colorado Republicans in the House, Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn.

The No Taxpayer Funds for Illegal Alien Abortions Act would prohibit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from using taxpayer dollars to transport any undocumented immigrant across state lines to get an abortion.

“The Biden administration is unlawfully using taxpayer money to transport pregnant, illegal alien children across state lines for late-term abortions,” Boebert said in a news release. “My colleagues and I have introduced bicameral legislation to end these illegal and horrific policies once and for all. Taxpayer money should never fund abortions, whether for citizens or non-citizens. Our priority at the southern border should be security and peace, not death and destruction.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement issued new guidelines in early November to ensure unaccompanied migrant youth have access to abortion while in ORR shelters or facilities, prioritizing them for placement in shelters in states, such as Colorado, that protect abortion access. It also requires the federal government to pay to transport a minor across state lines if they are initially placed in a state that restricts abortion – this is what prompted Boebert’s proposal. A request for comment from the White House has not yet been returned.

The bill Boebert proposed in the House goes along with a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, of the same name. A spokesperson from Boebert’s office said she plans to introduce the legislation again next session since Congress is wrapping up a lame-duck session and Republicans will take control of the House in January.

Colorado’s advocates for reproductive rights have called Boebert’s bill problematic and racist.

“This cruel and racist proposal is designed to demonize patients and further marginalize a community of people who are already disproportionately impacted by barriers to access,” Adrienne Mansanares, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said in a statement. “At Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, we do not ask – nor do we care – about someone’s immigration status. We always have and will continue to provide safe, legal reproductive health care and services to anyone who comes through our doors.”

The Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights works specifically to support reproductive health care access for Latinx people and their families, including those coming into Colorado from across the country’s southern border.

“No human being is illegal,” Dusti Gurule, president and CEO of COLOR, said in a statement. “These racist and anti-immigrant attacks towards our community cause violence and harm towards people who should and must receive access to reproductive health care, such as abortion, regardless of citizenship status. … This bill from Rep. Boebert is yet another example of how the Republican Party will stop at nothing to vilify our immigrant community and ignore the will of Colorado voters who support access to abortion for all people.”

Boebert’s proposal is supported by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University as well as dozens of other Republicans in Congress. The proposal is based on the Hyde amendment, which is included in the annual government funding bill to prevent the federal government from spending money on abortion, with limited exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the patient.

“The chaos at the southern border has threatened our national sovereignty and resulted in record-high crossings,” Buck said in a news release. “Instead of directing funds to help U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) control the chaos, President Biden is appealing to the Left’s agenda, using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions for illegal migrants. Using U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and HHS resources to transport pregnant migrants to other states is irresponsible and does nothing but exploit expectant mothers. Congress must take swift legislative action to defend our sovereignty and protect the sanctity of life.”

Other activist groups including New Era Colorado, ProgressNow Colorado and Cobalt have spoken out against the proposal.

“Lauren Boebert almost lost her election because she is completely out of touch with Colorado voters,” Cobalt President Karen Middleton said in a statement. “This is yet another example of someone who is primarily concerned with grandstanding and angertainment, not addressing the needs of her constituents.”

To read more stories from Colorado Newsline, visit www.coloradonewsline.com.