The Washington Times - January 22, 2011, 12:30PM

Pro-life movement leaders and activists are in Washington this weekend to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade—a court decision that legalized abortion across the nation. The annual march for life will happen on Monday, but before the march, pro-life activists are gathering together.

On Saturday night, Life Prizes, an initiative of the Gerard Health Foundation and a private charity foundation, will be giving awards to activists within the movement that looks to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. According to their website:

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Life Prizes is an annual prize program awarding up to $600,000 for outstanding efforts to awaken the conscience of America to the sanctity of human life through public advocacy, scientific research, outreach and public disclosure activities, legal action and other noteworthy achievements.

Award winners this year include: Kristan Hawkins (Students for Life of America), Rev. Alveda King (Founder of King for America), and Douglas Johnson (National Right to Life Committee). Winners will accept their awards at Washington D.C.’s Ritz Carlton. Talk radio host Laura Ingraham is the emcee for the night.

It appears to be no coincidence that Republicans proposed a bill that would cut off taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care act that was passed last year. Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican, introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” It will be known as H.R. 3 and the “Protect Life Act.” Standing next to House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, Mr. Smith told reporters:

“Today with the full and unequivocal support of Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor, more than 150 Members of Congress have joined us to introduce the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act—a government wide prohibition on taxpayer subsidization for abortion and conscience protections with durable remedies.  President Obama has said he wants abortion to be rare.To Mr. Obama I say, ‘here is a bill for you.’  Even the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, confirms that taxpayer funding bans are a proven abortion reduction method.  According to Guttmacher, studies show that when abortion is not publically funded, abortions in the covered population are reduced by roughly 25 percent.”

I asked Mr. Smith about 2009 legislation Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, proposed that would cut off any federal funding to Planned Parenthood clinics:

“The Pence bill legislation has also been introduced. [H.R. 3] would not affect funding for Planned Parenthood, but I and the Speaker and so many others do support the Pence bill. Planned Parenthood today performs in its own clinics over 324,000 abortions every year.”

“They are the largest abortion network in the world. They derive up to $1 billion each year from fees and governments—including the federal government and local and county and federal and state and a huge amount of money comes from the federal government of the United States. So this bill the ‘no taxpayer funding for abortion act’ does not deal with the issue of Planned Parenthood, but certainly the Pence bill will.”

It looks as if Republicans may be far from done with legislative efforts on the hill in regards to the life issue, and while the Catholic Bishops do not support the full repeal of the health care law, Republican efforts that put the abortion issue at the front and center of political debate is sure to fire up pro-life activists on the issue again.