Pro-Life Groups Praise Vote Stopping Abortion in Obamacare

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 14, 2011   |   11:17AM   |   Washington, DC

Leading pro-life organizations praised yesterday’s House vote for the Protect Life Act, legislation that would ensure no taxpayer dollars are used to pay for abortions under the Obamacare health care law.

As LifeNews reported members voted 251-172 for the pro-life legislation, with 236 Republicans and 15 Democrats supporting the bill and 170 Democrats and two Republicans voting against it. (See how your member voted here).

The National Right to Life Committee noted that the Obamacare law “contained multiple provisions that provide authorizations for subsidies for abortion, both implicit and explicit, and also multiple provisions that opened doors to abortion-expanding administrative actions.”

“The Protect Life Act would prohibit the use of any PPACA-authorized funds for abortions or to subsidize health plans that cover abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.   The Protect Life Act would not restrict the sale or purchase of insurance coverage for abortion with non-federal funds,” the organization said.

NRLC said that, during the debate, “opponents of the bill repeatedly claimed that it would allow hospitals to deny women “emergency” abortions.  In reality, the bill does not change the longstanding federal law in question, called EMTALA, which requires that in an “emergency” a hospital must do its best to stabilize both the pregnant mother and her “unborn child” (which is the term used in the statute).  The Protect Life Act allows federal funding of an abortion required to save a mother’s life.”

“President Obama won enactment of ObamaCare in 2010 partly by pretending that the bill did not expand abortion — but now the mask is coming off,” the group said.

The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also welcomed passage in the House of the ‘Protect Life Act’ (H.R. 358).

“By passing the Protect Life Act, the House has taken an important step toward authentic health care reform that respects the dignity of all, from conception onward,” Deirdre McQuade, USCCB pro-life spokeswoman, said. “The Act also helps ensure that the government will not pressure health professionals to participate in abortion against their medical judgment, moral convictions or religious beliefs.”

“The Protect Life Act would help protect vulnerable children, their families and doctors in several ways,” McQuade said. “It applies the Hyde amendment to PPACA so federal funds will not be used to subsidize elective abortions, bringing this law into line with other federal health programs such as Medicaid and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

“Now that the House has acted, it’s the Senate’s turn to help make health care reform life-affirming,” McQuade said.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded to passage as well, telling LifeNews, “We applaud U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski(D-IL) and the majority of the House of Representatives for approving the ‘Protect Life Act’ to restore government neutrality on the question of taxpayer funding for abortion.”

“Most Americans, regardless of their view on the legality of abortion on demand, oppose government funding for abortion. The ‘Protect Life Act’ will make sure that this principle is restored under the President’s health care law, often called ‘Obamacare,'” he said. “Despite misleading comments by abortion proponents, the Protect Life Act simply removes abortion funding and funding for health plans that include abortion. It ensures that Americans who want health care insurance with abortion coverage or supplemental abortion coverage can purchase it, but not with federal dollars. This was the long standing policy of the Hyde amendment until Obamacare bypassed this 30 year-old provision by directly spending money on new programs without any abortion funding restriction and creating tax subsidies for plans with abortion. The Protect Life Act restores this principle.”

“The bill also provides conscience protections for health care workers who oppose abortion, something that is being undermined by the government and pro-abortion forces who want health care providers to pay for, cover, or participate in abortion procedures. Now that the House has acted, the Senate should follow suit and remove abortion from the controversial health care law,” concluded Perkins.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, hailed passage of the measure and noted how White House advisors released a statement saying that they would recommend that the President veto the measure that is expected to pass the House later today. That would be a mistake, said Dr. Yoest.

“This vote applies longstanding federal law and policy to the pro-abortion health care law. It would ensure that no funds authorized or appropriated through the health care law can be used for abortion or insurance plans that provide abortion coverage,” said Dr. Yoest.  “We hope the Senate will follow suit.”

“This bill also requires the pro-abortion advocates who claimed that the health care laws does not pay for abortions to prove it,” said Dr. Yoest.  “By writing the restriction into the law, the Protect Life Act protects against a court ordering that abortion must be funded, and does not rely on administrative rulings and agency interpretations, which are subject to change, to prohibit abortion funding.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List, also commented, saying, “Since the debate of the Affordable Care Act first began, the pro-life movement has been urging Congress to pass legislation that would specifically prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. The House’s approval of such legislation today is further evidence that Obama’s health care law would in fact allow for taxpayer funding of abortion; we are now one step closer to making that a thing of the past.”

Dannenfelser, while praising the passage of the Protect Life Act through the House, claims it is further evidence supporting the organization’s position in an ongoing lawsuit.

In October 2010, then-Congressman Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) sued the Susan B. Anthony List for defamation after the organization launched a campaign to encourage voters not to reelect Driehaus because of his vote in favor of PPACA. The organization claimed the bill would allow for federal funds to be used for abortions since language was not included in the bill to prohibit such funding. Initially, Driehaus agreed with SBA List and committed to voting against the bill. Then, after President Obama issued a non-binding Executive Order, which Driehaus claimed addressed abortion funding, he changed his vote.

“For more than a year, SBA List has been fighting a lawsuit, brought by Congressman Driehaus claiming that we caused him ‘loss of livelihood’ by drawing attention to his vote for federal funding of abortion,” explained Dannenfelser. “Given that (x number) members of Congress voted in favor of the Protect Life Act, specifically in order to remove the PPACA’s federal funding of abortion that Steve Driehaus claims is non-existent, all of these members must thereby also be guilty of defamation.”