Senators Introduce Bill to Exclude Abortion Funding From New ObamaCare Law
by Steven Ertelt
August 5, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With the health care plan President Barack Obama signed into law having no protections against taxpayer funding of abortions, and with a dustup weeks ago that saw three instances of abortion funding exposed, a coalition of senators have introduced a bill to ensure no ObamaCare funds go towards abortion.
Senators Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, introduced the new bill with 23 original cosponsors today.
Their legislation would prevent by the force of law coverage of abortion services under the new health care law.
The Excluding Abortion Coverage from Health Reform Act of 2010 guarantees that no federal taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions. Their bill is a companion measure to the House bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts, known as the Protect Life Act, H.R. 5111.
Coburn, an OBGYN, commented on his new legislation in a press statement LifeNews.com obtained.
Forcing Americans to pay for abortion services with their own dollars is a grave abuse of government authority. The administrations track record of ambiguity in this area underscores the need for federal legislation clarifying, once and for all, that public funds will not be used to pay for abortion services under the new health law, he said.
Hatch added: The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to footing the bill for elective abortion. The President has promised that federal dollars will not pay for elective abortions, but the loopholes in the health legislation clearly leave the door wide open for that to happen. Our bill slams that door and effectively guarantees that won’t happen."
Coburn said that, contrary to the Obama administration’s claims, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) does not prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions or subsidizing coverage for such abortions.
"Obamas Executive Order 13535 regarding abortion funding merely restates accounting loopholes in the legislation, but fails to restrict abortion coverage in the newly-created health insurance Exchanges or protect against other federal subsidies for abortion," he said.
Coburn offered several ways in which the health care law Obama signed funds abortions and how his bill would prevent it.
1. The new health care law subsidizes insurance policies that cover elective abortions. The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act applies the Hyde Amendment to the new health care law by guaranteeing that no tax subsidies can flow to plans that cover elective abortion.
2. The new health care law effectively requires all enrollees who have health insurance plans that cover abortion to pay for abortions obtained by other plan participants.
The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act eliminates this accounting gimmick to create real separation by requiring abortion plans to be sold separately from health care plans in the new Exchanges that will be in operation and will receive federal dollars. This protects Americans from being forced to pay an abortion surcharge in order to obtain the health care plan they are mandated to purchase.
3. The new health care law grants authority to federal officials to mandate abortion coverage. The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents any federal agencies or appointees from mandating private insurance plans to cover abortion.
4. The new health care law does not adequately protect the conscience of health care entities. The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act codifies the Hyde-Weldon provision to protect health care providers from being penalized by state and local governments or by the federal government for refusing to participate in providing abortions.
5. The new health care law allows the Federal Government to administer health care plans that include abortion. The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents the Office of Personnel Management from contracting with or administering health plans that include abortion.
6. Multiple funds or programs are established under the new health care law related to reproductive services, but have no prohibitions on taxpayer-funding of abortion services. The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents all taxpayer funds under the new health care law from being used to pay for elective abortion services or coverage.
7. Only permanent, statutory language can prevent federal funding for abortion coverage through the government-regulated Exchanges, protect the right of conscience for health care providers, and guarantee that private insurance companies are not mandated by the government to cover abortion.
The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act amends the new health care law to offer permanent pro-life protections provided under the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and a similar amendment previously offered by Sens. Nelson and Hatch in the Senate.
The Family Research Council praised the introduction of the bill.
"President Obama’s new health care law destroys the traditional provision against federal funding for abortion. I applaud Sen. Coburn for introducing legislation that would put in place an abortion funding ban within the President’s new health care plan," said FRC president Tony Perkins.
"The American people, regardless of their view of the underlying issue, should not be forced to pay for someone’s abortion. Sen. Coburn’s bill would protect the American taxpayer and restore the longtime prohibition against government funding of elective abortion," he added.
"The outrage of voters spread even further after the Health and Human Services Department recently agreed to fund abortion in several state high risk insurance pool programs. HHS reversed course only after its approval of abortion funding was exposed, demonstrating that current law does not prevent abortion funding," Perkins said.
"Passing Sen. Coburn’s bill is the only way to restore the status quo on abortion funding in health care. If the Obama Administration is honest when it says it will not fund abortion, then the Coburn/Pitts measures should be passed with resounding support," he concluded.
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