Abortion Advocates Bemoan Repeal Vote, Abortion De-Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 4, 2011   |   6:57PM   |   Washington, DC

The head one of the leading abortion advocacy groups is already complaining about House Republicans and the vote they scheduled for next week to overturn abortion-funding ObamaCare.

NARAL president Nancy Keenan doesn’t like that effort and is upset that GOP lawmakers will follow that vote with one on legislation to ensure the ObamaCare law does not allow for any funding of abortions with taxpayer money.

Keenan complained that incoming Speaker John Boehner “isn’t waiting for a swearing-in ceremony before he begins attacking.”

“In addition to next week’s vote to repeal the health-reform law, Boehner also scheduled a vote on a separate resolution urging committees to make changes to health-care laws, which could include a Stupak-like ban on abortion coverage,” she griped.

“John Boehner is not waiting to be sworn in as the next speaker to reaffirm his threat to attack a woman’s right to choose,” Keenan said. “Boehner wants to open the door to more political interference in our personal, private decisions—and that agenda is out of touch with our country’s priorities and values. No one standing in an unemployment line is asking Boehner to launch additional attacks on legal abortion and other reproductive-health care, yet that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Although people waiting in unemployment lines didn’t ask for their taxpayer dollars to fund abortions in a government takeover of health care, Keenan said NARAL “would oppose the effort to repeal” the abortion-funding law.

There is not any language in the bill that contains a blanket ban on taxpayer funding of abortions because the Senate defeated the Nelson amendment to do that before sending its bill to the House for a final approval without any changes.

The only limits apply to certain sections: and the $7 billion for Community Health Centers, the $5 billion for a temporary high-risk health insurance pool program, and the $6 billion in grants and loans for health co-ops do not have any language saying the funds can’t be used for abortions.

The ObamaCare law not only doesn’t prohibit insurance plans operating in the exchange from covering abortions, but it says mandates that private insurance companies deciding to cover elective abortions in a health plan “shall… collect from each enrollee in the plan a separate payment” for such abortions. That means private plans getting federal subsidies make part of your premium go into a private account that pays for abortions so it “seems” the government isn’t paying for abortions. But the plan still gets government subsidies and taxpayers will lose their coverage if they fail to pay the premiums.

The ObamaCare law makes it so there is a mandate that at least one plan in every state exchange must be one that doesn’t cover abortions — but every other plan in the exchange may cover them. The mandate for a pro-life plan expires every year — which means pro-life advocates must win a battle in Congress to renew the mandate.

The law also has administration rules under which the Obama administration could declare abortion “preventive” services and include it for coverage at any time.

The Obama administration already tried to fund abortions in three states through the high risk health insurance pools in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Mexico. In New Mexico, the details of the plan showed that, after the insured party pays the deductible, taxpayer dollars from the federal government would have covered the remaining 80 percent of the cost of the abortion.

The National Right to Life Committee blew the whistle on the abortion funding and the Obama administration responded at first by claiming the executive order Obama signed prohibits the funding NRLC uncovered. Then, when officials realized this was not accurate, they promised the high risk insurance programs would not fund abortions.

When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.

Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.

However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.

Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses.

The exchange doesn’t go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.