Researcher: Obama Admin Decision Makes Obamacare Fund Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2011   |   11:14AM   |   Washington, DC

A researcher from the Heritage Foundation says a new Obama administration decision regarding the massive Obamacare law makes it so Americans were sold a bill of goods when they were told it would not fund abortions.

Chuck Donovan says the executive order President Barack Obama signed that supposedly mitigated the abortion funding concerns was merely window dressing for explicit subsidies in the government-run health care plan that pay for abortions with public funds. He says pro-life Democrats, led by Bart Stupak, who cashed in their votes for the bill in exchange for a “presidential executive order that purported to fill the gaps in the legislation that allow various types of abortion subsidies—through tax credits, mandates on insurance companies and states, and direct payments.”

Donovan says the amendment Stupak and other Democrats supported to truly prohibit abortion funding — which was not included in the Senate version of the bill that the House passed and eventually became law — would have done the trick.

“Once the Stupak–Pitts amendment was abandoned by Stupak and his allies and the bill was signed into law, the problems with various sections of the bill became ever more apparent,” he explains. “In addition to providing massive tax subsidies for health insurance plans that cover elective abortions (using a novel accounting technique in an effort to assert that the abortion coverage in these plans is privately purchased), the law contains several provisions to which no abortion funding limits actually apply.”

“One of these provisions, governing state high-risk insurance pools, led to a fresh battle last summer when several states developed risk pools that allowed coverage of elective abortions. In response and under pressure, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instructed the states to modify their risk pools and limit direct reimbursement of abortions,” Donovan says. “The instruction was necessary, because the appropriations for high-risk coverage under Obamacare contained no restriction whatsoever on abortion funding. Abortion advocacy groups reacted negatively to the HHS action, because they knew the law was on their side. The Obama Administration’s chief health policy expert offered her opinion that the modification should not be viewed “as a precedent” for future Administration behavior on the issue, because the program was unique and temporary.”

Donovan says the subject of funding abortions under Obamacare is renewed thanks to the decision by the Obama administration to force insurance companies to pay for abortion-causing drugs, along with birth control, under the preventative care section of the law.

“The HHS interpretation underscores again the validity of concerns that Obamacare’s provisions leave many loopholes for direct payments and subsidies for abortions,” Donovan says. “It is clear that abortion-subsidizing and even abortion-funding features permeate the law.”

Donovan confirms that the lack of any prohibition on abortion funding that covers the entirety of Obamacare makes it so the federal government can find creative ways to fund abortions.

“Funds for abortion have flowed many times from the U.S. Treasury under many different programs without such a provision ever existing” he says. “The reason for restrictions like the Hyde Amendment and the proposed-but-never-passed Stupak–Pitts Amendment has always been that abortion is interpreted by government agencies as just another “medically necessary” procedure unless it is specifically excluded by law (the very reason why there are nearly two dozen abortion funding “riders” on annual appropriations bills for federal agencies).”

“As the latest HHS regulations on “preventive services” in health insurance make clear, whether or not certain provisions of Obamacare exclude abortion and abortifacients is up to the discretion of the Administration,” he concludes. “The law itself permits such coverage in many instances, and it makes funds available for it by a variety of ingenious pathways. The “preventive services” pathway is only the latest route down a very slippery slope.”