Sen. Mike Lee asks Senate committee to preserve pro-life, religious protections in spending bills

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and 24 other conservative senators asked a Senate budget committee to preserve all existing pro-life and religious freedom protections in all future spending bills.

"The unborn are the most vulnerable members of our society, yet they are under attack,” reads a letter sent Tuesday to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“In 2015 alone, 638,169 unborn children lost their lives to abortion. This is a terrible tragedy, and we must continue to prevent federal funding from supporting the unjust practice of elective abortion.”

The Republican senators' letter asks the committee not to diminish any of the pro-life or religious liberty actions taken by the Trump administration.

"President Trump has committed to veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life federal policies and laws," the letter says. "Similarly, we remain committed to ensuring that no such legislation ever makes it to the president’s desk and will carefully review each appropriations bill to verify that they preserve pro-life and religious liberty protections that the Senate’s pro-life majority has supported for decades.”

The letter also says that people's right to live and worship according to their religious beliefs is a bedrock principle of the founding of America and that the First Amendment prohibits Congress from interfering in the free exercise of religion.

"With this in mind, it is critical the retain the longstanding riders in appropriations legislation that safeguard the ability of citizens to live out their faith," according to the letter.

The letter also asks that no riders — additional provisions attached to a bill — that would threaten the Trump administration's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, which prevents federal funds from being directed to organizations that provide abortions or advocate for abortions policies overseas.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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