AP Confirms Hyde Amendment Doesn’t Prevent Abortion Funding in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

AP Confirms Hyde Amendment Doesn’t Prevent Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 23
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — White House press secretary Robert Gibbs may want to add a Friday news story from the Associated Press to his to-do list today. The article disabuses Gibbs on claims he made in recent weeks saying the Hyde amendment prevent taxpayer-funding of abortion in the health care bills.

The Associated Press acknowledges what pro-life groups have been saying all along — that the Hyde amendment, which stops abortion funding in Medicaid, doesn’t apply to these new health care bills.

"Currently a law called the Hyde amendment bars federal funding for abortion – except in cases of rape and incest or if the mother’s life would be endangered – and applies those restrictions to Medicaid," AP writer Erica Werner reports. "Separate laws apply the restrictions to the federal employee health plan and military and other programs."

"But the Democrats’ health overhaul bill would create a new stream of federal funding not covered by the restrictions," AP confirms.

As LifeNews.com reported October 7, Gibbs said during a press briefing that, referring to the Hyde amendment, "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."

"Again, there’s a fairly well-documented federal law that prevents it," he claimed.

Gibbs repeated the claim the next day when challenged by a reporter with a follow-up question, saying "there’s a fairly clear federal law prohibiting the federal use of money for abortion."

National Right to Life federal legislative director Douglas Johnson responded to the AP article in comments to LifeNews.com and said it is right about Hyde not applying to the health care bills.

"The AP clearly and accurately reports that," he said.

"That is important, because the press secretary for the president has said three times in recent weeks that existing law would prevent funding of abortions under the health care legislation — even though the White House understands as well as the AP does that this is not true," Johnson told LifeNews.com.

Johnson said the AP story was a good start to pointing out how the health care bills fund abortions, but not a complete treatment.

"There are at least two major pro-abortion components in the House bill. The AP story does a pretty good job of explaining one of them — the new program that would provide government subsidies to help people buy private health insurance," he said.

"As the story explains, the pro-life side is fighting to prevent these new subsidies from going to plans that cover elective abortion," Johnson added.

"But there is a glaring omission in the AP story," he noted.

The AP article "fails to mention that the bill also creates a nationwide health plan that the federal government would operate directly, the ‘public plan’ and explicitly authorizes this government program to pay for elective abortions."

"Under the bill, the federal government would directly fund abortions, using federal funds, under the public plan — a sharp break from decades of federal policy," he added.

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