On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hosted a roundtable on the Hyde Amendment and taxpayer funding of abortions as part of an ongoing series about the Build Back Better reconciliation bill.
Members of Congress attending the roundtable included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Representative Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Representative Andy Harris, M.D. (R-Md.).
The following remarks were made by Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee:
Leader McCarthy, Rep. Smith, Rep. Fischbach, Rep. Harris, thank you for this opportunity to highlight the radical abortion-expanding provisions of this multi-trillion-dollar spending spree.
I am Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, the federation of state right-to-life organizations nationwide. Since its inception, NRLC’s organizational mission has been to defend the right to life of innocent human beings. Consistent with that mission, NRLC is opposed to government funding of abortion and government subsidies for health insurance plans that cover abortion.
Abortion is not healthcare. Until this Congress, the Hyde Amendment enjoyed 45 years of bipartisan support. Yet, today, the Hyde Amendment is being targeted at every turn by pro-abortion Democrats.
The Hyde Amendment is widely recognized as having a significant impact on the number of abortions in the United States saving an estimated 2.4 million American lives.
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Despite overwhelming taxpayer opposition to paying for abortions, the Democrats’ spending spree deliberately excludes Hyde Amendment language with the goal of expanding abortion on demand paid for by your tax dollars.
I want to touch on two especially horrible provisions in the Democrat’s reconciliation spending spree related to Obamacare that will inevitably lead to more plans covering abortions.
First, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce language would actually mandate abortion coverage in Obamacare plans in the states that did not expand Medicaid.
This is a shocking override of state law – and one that will mean abortion coverage in states that lawfully elected to have exchanges without abortion coverage.
The 2010 Obamacare law authorized massive federal funding to subsidize millions of private health plans that cover abortion on demand – a sharp departure from long-standing law at that time.
Like the language we have seen on reconciliation, Obamacare created multiple new streams of federal funding that are “self-appropriated” meaning that they flow outside regular appropriations – and are not subject to the Hyde Amendment.
The Obama healthcare law allows premium assistance credits to be directed to health insurance coverage that includes abortion, but also permitted states to specifically ban abortion coverage. Twenty-five states passed legislation doing so.
The Democrat’s radical spending bill, starting in 2024, would explicitly override the laws of 11 of these states – states that did not expand their Medicaid programs. Further, the legislation mandates that Obamacare silver exchange plans cover abortion and transportation for abortions (without cost-sharing) for the Medicaid coverage gap population.
This means not only that the government will force people’s plans to cover abortion, but also that they will force plans to pay for transportation in or out of state to do so.
Obamacare specifically excluded abortion as a required essential health benefit, and the Democrats plan to override that 2010 provision.
Second, the Democrat spending spree would make the Obamacare expansions from the Covid-19 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 permanent. This would further subsidize Obamacare exchange plans that cover abortion and subsidize millions of individuals’ taxpayer-funded plans that cover abortion on demand.
The Covid-19 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included the most significant step in the last 10 years toward expanding the Obamacare program. The legislation included a two-year expansion of the Obamacare premium subsidies. It not only increased the size of the subsidy for those already eligible for assistance but also extended subsidies to people earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level.
Making this expansion permanent, combined with the other Obamacare provisions, will have the effect of driving large numbers of people into plans that cover abortion – leading to more destruction of unborn life.
We look forward to working with our grassroots and all of you to stop this radical expansion of abortion.
Full video of the roundtable can be found here.
National Right to Life’s analysis of the abortion expanding provisions of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill can be found here.
LifeNews.com Note: Laura Echevarria is the Director of Media Relations and a spokesperson for the National Right to Life Committee.