The Obama administration released a Statement of Administration Policy today threatening to veto a bill the House plans to vote on tomorrow that ensures no federal taxpayer funding for abortions under Obamacare.
On September 9, 2009, President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and claimed about the Obamacare legislation: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up—under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
To hold him accountable to that pledge, the House of Representatives will vote Thursday on legislation that would stop abortion funding in the program. H.R. 358, Protect Life Act, makes it clear that no funds authorized or appropriated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), including tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, may be used to pay for abortion or abortion coverage. It specifies that individual people or state or local governments must purchase a separate elective abortion rider or insurance coverage that includes elective abortion but only as long as that is done with private funds and not monies authorized by Obamacare.
But the new Obama administration statement says: “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 358 because, as previously stated in the Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 3, the legislation intrudes on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restricts the private insurance choices that women and their families have today.”
“Longstanding Federal policy prohibits Federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered,” the new Obama administration statement says, referring to the Hyde Amendment, which does not apply to the Obamacare law.
Obama officials rely on the disproved argument that Obamacare, and a subsequent executive order Obama signed related to it, prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions under the law, even though pro-life groups almost unanimously say the bill and the order are not sufficient to stop abortion funding.
“The Affordable Care Act preserved this prohibition and included policies to ensure that Federal funding is segregated from any private dollars used to fund abortions for which Federal funding is prohibited,” the administration claims. “The President’s Executive Order 13535 reinforces that Federal funding cannot be used for abortions (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and ensures proper enforcement of this policy.”
Obama officials issue the veto threat, saying, “H.R. 358 goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law and reinforced in the President’s Executive Order by restricting women’s private insurance choices. If the President is presented with H.R. 358, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
The pro-life movement has already worked to stop taxpayer funding of abortions that state attempted to implement under Obamacare. The Obama administration came under heavy fire from a pro-life group that discovered, in three states, officials had approved paying for abortions under new high risk insurance programs created under the national health care law. The National Right to Life Committee exposed the abortion funding and the Obama administration responded at first by claiming the executive order Obama signed prohibits the funding NRLC uncovered. Then, Obama officials revised the statement to say they promised the high risk insurance programs would not fund abortions in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Maryland or any other states.
“All the major pro-abortion groups are now openly proclaiming what National Right to Life said all along — neither the law Obama signed, nor his executive order on abortion, prohibit federal funding of abortion in the high-risk program,” Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee who uncovered the abortion funding, previously said.
“In fact, the executive order only addressed two specific provisions of the 2,000-page health care law — and it does not resolve even those two provisions in a satisfactory manner,” Johnson added.
The bill also specifies that insurance issuers may offer health plans that include elective abortion and may offer separate elective abortion riders, so long as they ensure PPACA funds are not used for premiums or administrative costs. The bill also clarifies that issuers who offer elective abortion coverage must also offer a qualified health benefits plan that is identical except that it does not cover elective abortion.
The pro-life measure also ensures that state laws “protecting conscience rights, restricting or prohibiting abortion or coverage or funding of abortion, or establishing procedural requirements on abortion” are not abrogated by Obamacare. It also makes it so any state or local governments receiving funding under Obamacare may not subject any health care entity to discrimination or require any health plan to subject any entity to discrimination on the basis that it refuses to undergo abortion training, refuses to require abortion training, refuses to perform or pay for abortions, or refuses to provide abortion referrals.
ACTION: Contact your member of the House at http://www.house.gov to urge strong support for the Protect Life Act and opposition to any weakening amendments.