Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed another lawsuit against the Trump administration Tuesday challenging a rule that protects taxpayers from funding abortions through Obamacare.
This is the second lawsuit that abortion activists have filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule, which was finalized in late December. Seven pro-abortion attorneys general also sued to block the rule in January.
The rule requires insurers that sell Obamacare plans that cover elective abortions to collect a separate payment for that coverage, as required by law. Under the Obama administration, insurers were allowed to collect payments together in violation of statutory language. The new HHS rule ensures that women on Obamacare plans pay for elective abortions themselves, rather than American taxpayers.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, and the ACLU claim the rule would reduce access to abortion by creating a huge burden on insurance companies that cover it, according to National Review. Their lawsuit claims the Trump administration “has not identified a single quantifiable benefit from the final rule to weigh in the balance against these costs.”
Washington Times reports one anonymous plaintiff also claimed she could lose her health insurance entirely if the rule is implemented, though it is not clear how.
“If this rule takes effect, I face the terrifying risk of losing not only my insurance coverage for abortion, but my insurance coverage entirely, which would be devastating for me given my pre-existing condition,” the D.C. resident said in a statement.
ACLU attorney Meagan Burrows slammed the rule as just another attempt to push abortion “further out of reach,” and Planned Parenthood acting president Alexis McGill Johnson argued that the rule tries to “shame people” who want abortions.
Pro-life leaders said the new HHS rule will increase transparency as well as protects taxpayers.
In 12 of 24 states and the District of Columbia that provide taxpayer-funded Obamacare plans, 80 percent or more of those plans cover elective abortions. In eight of those locales, every single Obamacare plan covers elective abortion – though taxpayers may not know it.
In 2014, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council launched Obamacareabortion.com as a resource to help consumers find health plans that do not include elective abortion.
That same year, a report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office found massive public funding of abortion in President Barack Obama’s health care law. When he signed Obamacare into law, Obama promised the American people that it would not pay for abortions. He even signed an executive order to that effect. But the GAO report found that he misled Americans.
Pro-life advocates praised the Trump administration for the new rule in December.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said it was a victory for transparency and American taxpayers.
She told LifeNews.com, previously: “Obamacare was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion since Roe v. Wade, dramatically increasing abortion funding by subsidizing plans that cover abortion on demand. Making this dramatic expansion even more onerous, the Obama administration allowed insurers to ignore the law by burying the abortion surcharge in plan documents instead of collecting it separately. This new rule will ensure compliance so that ‘separate’ no longer means ‘together’ when it comes to funding abortion.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said the rule brings insurance companies that had flaunted the law under the Obama administration into compliance.
“This pro-life, pro-transparency rule is an important step in the right direction. Obamacare uses publicly-subsidized plans that cover abortion on demand. The Obama Administration hid the ball by letting insurance companies bury a legally required abortion surcharge in paperwork, but this new Trump Administration rule makes sure that the fee is out in the open,” he said in December.
Abortion advocacy groups have challenged every effort by the Trump administration to protect unborn babies, taxpayers and medical workers from abortion. Polls consistently show that most Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions, and most support conscience protections for medical workers who oppose abortions.
President Donald Trump’s record on pro-life values has been strong. In one of his first acts as president, he reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding to international groups that promote or provide abortions overseas. The change defunded Planned Parenthood’s international arm of about $100 million in U.S. tax dollars.
His administration also finalized a new Title X rule that requires health care entities to completely separate abortion from their taxpayer-funded services. Planned Parenthood lost about $60 million in taxpayer funding through the policy change.