Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

We Need Accountability for all Programs

January 20, 2015
Op-Ed

We Need Accountability for all Programs

As a staunch defender of the unborn, I believe that life begins at conception and every life has a soul. When I first ran for Congress, I made a promise to the folks of the Twenty-Second Congressional District of Texas to do all I can to block taxpayer funds for abortion advocates. A majority of Americans believe that abortions are wrong, yet taxpayer dollars continue to be allocated to groups that promote and perform abortions.

Since my first term in Congress, I have introduced the Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act. This pro-life legislation requires states to report how the funds they receive through Medicaid are spent on organizations that perform or refer for abortion services. Americans have a right to know how their hard earned money is being spent. In this new 114th Congress, I am re-introducing my bill this week to coincide with the 42nd annual March for Life.

The Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act directs each state that makes a Medicaid payment from federal funds during the fiscal year for any items or services furnished by an abortion provider to: (1) report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on all such payments, and (2) publish the report on a public Internet website of the state. It also requires an annual report to specified congressional committees on such reports, which shall also be published on a public Internet HHS website.

In 2010, I also requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to perform an audit to clarify how much taxpayer money abortion providers receive. Sadly, the report concluded that these groups received close to $1 billion in taxpayer funding over an 8-year period. In 2013, I requested an updated report and hope to get that information soon. Greater transparency is critically important and precisely what these groups seek to avoid.

Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for life-ending procedures that they believe are wrong. Aside from the moral obligation we have to protect every life, our national debt sits at a staggering $18 trillion. We have a fiscal duty to cut wasteful government spending and refuse to fund organizations that promote or perform the taking of human life.

At a time when we count every penny in the federal budget, it’s only fitting that we take a hard look at the programs that we ask the American people to fund. For millions of Americans, these programs are ones that they would never fund on their own, due to moral objections. Not only is this wrong in and of itself, but in most cases we do not have accurate up-to-date data to determine how much federal tax dollars these abortion organizations receive or how they are spent. We need accountability.

I will continue every effort to fight to cut off every single tax dollar these organizations receive, and I will never tire and never rest in my moral obligation to give a voice to those who have none and protect the right of the unborn.

Olson is the representative for District 22.