Judge Rules ObamaCare Constitutional Despite Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 1, 2010   |   12:10PM   |   Washington, DC

A federal judge in Virginia has issued a preliminary ruling in one of several lawsuits filed against ObamaCare, which pro-life groups opposed because it contained no provisions fully eliminating abortion funding.

The case, filed by Liberty University, a Christian college, is different from the main lawsuits state attorney general filed against the health care takeover law because it centers on the question of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions.

Judge Jude Norman Moon, a Clinton appointee, is now the second judge to issue a ruling siding with ObamaCare, though a judge in the main case in Florida has sided with opponents and all of the cases are expected to be combined into one that will go before the Supreme Court.

In his refusal of Liberty University’s claims, Judge Moon wrote that, since everyone will eventually make a decision one way or the other on purchasing health care, that such decisions constitute the kind of interstate commerce Congress has the authority to regulate by law.

“I hold that there is a rational basis for Congress to conclude that individuals’ decisions about how and when to pay for health care are activities that in the aggregate substantially affect the interstate health care market,” he wrote in his opinion. “Nearly everyone will require health care services at some point in their lifetimes, and it is not always possible to predict when one will be afflicted by illness or injury and require care.”

“Far from ‘inactivity,’ by choosing to forgo insurance, Plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now, through the purchase of insurance,” he continued. “As Congress found, the total incidence of these economic decisions has a substantial impact on the national market for health care by collectively shifting billions of dollars on to other market participants and driving up the prices of insurance policies.”

That’s the same ruling a Michigan judge issued last month.

Moon also decided against the pro-life groups that have pointed out the myriad of ways in which abortions can be funded under ObamaCare since no provisions exist to fully stop it or will eventually expire.

‘The Act explicitly states that no plan is required to cover any form of abortion services,” he wrote.

Conservative legal scholars are rejecting the notion by saying that Congress has never had the constitutional authority to regulate choices consumers make to not purchase something, such as health insurance.

Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey of the conservative Hot Air blog says proponents of ObamaCare are celebrating the decision even though it’s but a skirmish in a long legal war.

“The White House celebrated the decision as yet another vindication of ObamaCare.  However, this case and the two previous cases are merely the warm-up act,” he notes. “The lawsuits brought by the states will be the main show, and even those won’t matter as much until the initial rulings get appealed.”

“The question of Congressional jurisdiction and limitation of power will only get settled by the Supreme Court — assuming that a new President and Congress haven’t overturned ObamaCare before the Supremes get the chance to reach a verdict,” Morrissey added.

A judge in the Eastern District of Virginia heard oral arguments in pro-life Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge in October and is expected to rule by the end of the year.

Oral arguments in the most high-profile case in Florida, the lawsuit filed by 20 states, are slated for December 16.