At a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius confirmed the fears of many pro-life advocates who worry that the recent HHS mandate requiring all insurance plans to cover contraception and sterilization, regardless of an employer’s moral objection, is just the beginning.
The same statutory authority of the Administration to mandate contraception could just as easily mandate abortion on demand. The Administration believes in essence that employers are not really paying for contraceptives or abortion since they would be cheaper than providing for prenatal care, childbirth or child care.
In an exchange with pro-life Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Sebelius claimed, “The reduction in a number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception.” To which Murphy responded, “So you’re saying by not having babies born, we’re going to save money on healthcare?” The exchange becomes just another example of the Obama Administration’s willingness to trample on basic rights of conscience in order to pay for the massive 2010 federal healthcare law and expand abortion.
As a means of cutting costs under Obamacare, the Secretary of HHS has the authority to mandate coverage of anything he or she adds to a “preventive services” list. The recent HHS edict was the result of contraception being added to that list. Because the list is fluid and left solely to the whim of the Administration, there is no statute preventing an abortion mandate.
Certainly abortion coverage is the next logical step. Even in its initial passage in 2010, Obamacare contained new streams of federal funding for abortion. The Obama Administration fought against pro-life amendments like the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to gut abortion funding from the bill. It has continued to fight against efforts to limit federal funds for abortion. The Obama Administration was willing to allow a government shutdown unless full federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, was in place. It’s clear; the Administration would have no qualms about mandating coverage for abortion.
The Blunt Amendment, which sadly failed on a 51-48 vote today in the Senate, would have allowed employers to opt out of the mandated contraception coverage if it went against their convictions. However, it also would have protected pro-life employers from having to cover abortion on demand. Eyes are now on the House where a similar bill (H.R. 1179) sponsored by pro-life Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is advancing to continue the fight for conscience rights. The bill already has 220 co-sponsors (more than half of the House), including members of both parties.
Pro-life advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge support for H.R. 1179 and conscience protections. Visit http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=60964701.