Obama Spokesman Robert Gibbs Again Misrepresents Health Care, Hyde, Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
October 9, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — For the second time this week, the number one spokesman for President Barack Obama misrepresented federal law on abortion funding. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs falsely claimed this week that the Hyde Amendment would prevent abortion funding in the health care bills and he did it again today.
As LifeNews.com reported, Gibbs told a CNS News reporter, "there’s a law that precludes the use of federal funds for abortion. That isn’t going to be changed in these health care bills."
The reporter, Fred Lucas, challenged Gibbs today in a follow-up question.
"Robert, since I asked you about this issue on Wednesday, the Catholic bishops have sent out another letter yesterday in which — sent another letter to Congress — and you said on Wednesday that the Hyde amendment would prevent abortion funding through the health bill," Lucas said.
"The Catholic bishops have repeatedly said that the Hyde amendment would not apply to the health care bill and yesterday in the letter that they sent to Congress they said that if language expressly prohibiting abortion funding is not added to the health care bill, they will vigorously — ‘vigorously oppose’ — that’s a quote — the bill," he continued.
"My question on that, does the President support the bishops on this? And to eliminate this as an issue, will he call on Congress to have an explicit prohibition of abortion funding?" Lucas asked.
Gibbs responded: "My answer isn’t different than it was on Wednesday."
"There may be a legal interpretation that has been lost here, but there’s a fairly clear federal law prohibiting the federal use of money for abortion. I think it is — again, it’s exceedingly clear in the law," he claimed.
"But the Hyde amendment is only for direct appropriations for HHS," Lucas said, correcting Gibbs.
"Again, I think that law is exceedingly clear," Gibbs replied, not backing down.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that Gibbs is wrong once again.
"Again today, for the second time this week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs repeated the ‘Hyde Amendment myth,’" he said.
"His assertions are without foundation in fact, because there is no current federal law that would prevent government funding of abortion under the proposed public plan that would be created by H.R. 3200 or S. 1679," he said.
So what law would guide abortion funding in these new health care programs?
The Capps Amendment, which a House committee added to HR 3200 this summer, would set forth the guidelines that Johnson says allow expansive abortion funding.
"Under the Capps Amendment, the Obama Administration would be explicitly authorized to pay for all abortions, from day one, under the big new ‘public option’ program," he tells LifeNews.com. "This means that a person would not be allowed to enroll in the new government plan unless he or she is willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions — in effect, an abortion surcharge."
"Indeed, the Capps Amendment explicitly requires that the federal official who runs the program must calculate the total cost of abortions and increase the premium for all enrollees enough to pay for them," he adds.
"The amendment specifies that this surcharge cannot be less than $12 per enrollee per year, but the amendment does not set an upper limit. Again, this premium specifically for elective abortions is not optional," he adds.
"Thus, under the Obama-backed bill, a federal agency would be writing checks to abortionists to pay for elective abortions, with funds drawn on a federal Treasury account," Johnson concludes. "This is ‘government funding of abortion,’ pure and simple."
"A vote for H.R. 3200 is indeed a vote for government funding of abortion on a huge scale," he says.
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