On November 15, pro-life members of the House of Representatives sent a bankruptcy bill to the Senate after removing an amendment that would have prevented pro-life activists from declaring bankruptcy when hit with judgments stemming from their pro-life activities. Liberal Democrats, concerned about the bill’s impact on the poor, joined pro-life Republicans in a procedural vote that killed the anti-life provisions of the bill.
The language targeting pro-life activists was introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and modified by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) to include other organizations. While Hyde’s support of the compromise bill surprised pro-lifers, Hyde told pro-life House members who could not vote for this bill targeting pro-life protestors to vote their consciences.
Defeat of the bill was good news for the League. Pro-abortion Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) had publically linked the legislation to Now v. Scheidler. In fact, some legislators were calling it the anti-Scheidler amendment.
The League and all pro-life activists owe a debt of gratitude to the House members who put principle above party, especially Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Joe Pitts (R-PA), who led the effort to remove the pro-abortion amendment. According to pro-abortion Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), “They had to choose between people who were interested in vigorously protesting abortions, and the financial community, and they decided to support the people who vigorously protest abortion.”
Sources: The Washington Post Online, CBS News Online