On April 17, President Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a “notice of proposed rulemaking” that seeks to redefine the terms “person,” “natural person,” and “individual” to exclude the unborn.
The rule change would apply to federal healthcare regulations, including those created by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The HHS proposal states that HIPAA, a bipartisan law that was supported by many pro-life members of Congress at the time, “does not define the term ‘person.’”
However, the HHS goes on to reference 1 U.S. Code 8 (1 U.S.C. 8), a provision created by the passage of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002. The law, signed by then-President George W. Bush, aimed to protect infants who survived failed abortions by asserting their personhood. 1 U.S. Code 8, which has been on the books for over two decades, reads:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.
The HHS states that this law, nonetheless, does not include unborn members of the human species in the definition of any of these terms. Therefore, as part of their new rule change, the HHS will interpret the definition of “person” in federal regulations to match the definition outlined in 1 U.S.C. 8.
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“The Department understands 1 U.S.C. 8 to provide a definition of ‘person’ and ‘child’ that is consistent with the Department’s understanding of that term, as it is used in the SSA, HIPAA, and the HIPAA Rules and does not include a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus,” the agency stated:
Thus, the Department proposes to clarify the definition of “natural person” in a manner consistent with 1 U.S.C. 8 In so doing, the Department would make clear that all terms subsumed within the definition of “natural person,” such as “individual,” which refers to a “person” who is the subject of PHI under the HIPAA Rules, is limited to the confines of the term “person.” The Department would also make clear that “natural person,” as used in the definition of “person” under the HIPAA Rules, is limited to the definition at 1 U.S.C. 8.
CatholicVote Director of Government Affairs Tom McClusky pointed out the HHS’s proposed rule change is “twisting” a definition from a pro-life law in order to promote abortion.
“A majority of the scientific community knows when human life begins, and it is in the womb,” McClusky said. “The Biden administration would rather ignore the science to further their abortion idolatry.”
This is not the first time this month the Biden administration proposed an HHS rule to benefit the abortion industry. CatholicVote reported on April 13 that the HHS “proposed a new rule that will make it harder for people to scrutinize or take legal action against Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.”
LifeNews Note: Joshua mercer writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.