Obama Admin First Defends Abortion $ in Health Care, Now Promises None
by Steven Ertelt
July 15, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Officials in the Obama administration are scrambling to respond to evidence showing the new health care law President Barack Obama signed will fund elective abortions in Pennsylvania and New Mexico — and possibly in more states. The Obama administration promises that won’t happen.
The National Right to Life Committee uncovered information showing a new Pennsylvania high risk health insurance plan will cover elective abortions.
Further evidence the pro-life group obtained showed a similar high risk health insurance pool in New Mexico will also fund elective abortions using federal taxpayer funds.
Now, Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Jenny Backus has issued a response saying the abortion funding won’t occur and officials in both states are revising their information that initially stated it would.
"Under the Affordable Care Act and the President’s related Executive Order, federal funds made available to states for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan may not be used to fund abortion," Backus said intiially. "We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan at both the state and federal levels."
Later Wednesday, Backus backtracked and withdrew the first line of the statement after it was quickly proven false.
As NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnsojn tells LifeNews.com, "There is absolutely no language in the ‘Affordable Care Act’, and absolutely no language in the Obama executive order, that in any way restricts the use of funds in the ‘Pre-Existing Condition Insurance’ program for abortion. By late Wednesday, HHS had dropped that line and adopted a different approach."
A report in The Hill, the newspaper that covers Congress, indicates NRLC is correct — and it explains the executive order Obama issued concerning abortion and the health care bill does not cover high-risk pools.
"To placate anti-abortion Democrats, President Obama signed an executive order barring use of federal funds to cover abortions in health insurance exchanges. That order does not apply to the high-risk pools," The Hill reported Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Backus claimed the state web sites containing information about the high risk pools, that provided the information NRLC used to verify the abortion funding, will be updated in the next couple of weeks to show they will not fund elective abortions.
"If HHS does now issue new directives to keep abortion out of this particular program, it will be because NRLC blew the whistle on them," Johnson said. "The Obama Administration shows a pattern of relentlessly pushing pro-abortion policies through the federal agencies and on Capitol Hill, whenever they think they can do so under the public radar — and then scurrying for cover when the spotlight comes on."
That both states reported they would cover elective abortions is not in dispute, although both appear to be backtracking after Right to Life uncovered the abortion funding.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that New Mexico "initially listed elective abortion as a covered benefit" but then "reversed course" after AP inquired about the coverage NRLC discovered.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, deputy director of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool, told AP that the state’s contract with HHS stipulated the plan must follow federal law but did not spell out details on limits to abortion coverage.
"As a result, New Mexico included elective abortion as a covered benefit, following what it was already doing with its own state health programs," AP indicated.
NRLC identified how the Internet site describing the New Mexico plan listed "elective termination of pregnancy" as a covered benefit and noting how it would pay for 80 percent of the cost of the abortion after the insured woman met the $500 deductible.
Grisham initially told AP the state would follow through on that plan but then called the news outlet back later Wednesday saying otherwise: "We are in the process of correcting the package so it will not have elective abortion coverage."
Pennsylvania officials are backtracking as well, with Rosanne Placey, a spokeswoman for the state insurance department, telling AP the high risk pool will now not cover elective abortions: "That is not part of the benefit package."
Backus also said the Obama administration would ensure any abortion coverage under the new national health care program would be limited to cases when the mother’s life is in danger or rape and incest — which the Hyde Amendment limits funding of abortions to regarding other funding from the federal government, but which does not apply to the new health care law.
Johnson ultimately told LifeNews.com: "I have been asked, can the Administration be trusted? Sure, they can be trusted — to try to expand federal support for abortion every sneaky chance they get."
"Everybody needs to constantly watch what people in this Administration are doing, not what they are saying," he concluded.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org
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