Washington, DC, August 7, 2009 — Americans United for Life, the oldest national pro-life organization, denounced the Ryan-DeLauro bill’s unprecedented mandate that states cover abortion in state medical assistance programs.
Tucked into the Ryan-DeLauro bill (HR 3312) is a little-noticed provision that mandates that states provide abortion in state medical assistance programs. The paragraph in Title VII, section 701 of the bill says that these state programs must cover “family planning” services. Since the 1970s, several federal appeals courts have read “family planning” in the Medicaid statute to include elective abortion, unless the bill contains an express exclusion of abortion, such as the Hyde Amendment. Because the Ryan-DeLauro bill contains no such exclusion, it mandates abortion coverage in state medical assistance programs.
“Planned Parenthood and NARAL wouldn’t back a so-called ‘common ground’ bill unless it included abortion services,” said AUL President & CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Efforts to paint this bill as ‘pro-life’ are deceptive.”
Up to now, states have had the option to provide different “benefit packages” to certain populations, and the coverage could be modeled on “benchmark” or “benchmark equivalent” plans. The Ryan-DeLauro Bill would mandate, for the first time, that states include abortion within the “benchmark” or “benchmark equivalent” plans. This would be a radical extension of federally mandated taxpayer funding of abortion and an unprecedented mandate that states cover abortion in state medical assistance programs.
AUL Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe said, “The bill takes away the flexibility that the states have had in designing their plans, by mandating that ‘family planning’ — which federal courts read to include elective abortion — be included. Under Ryan-DeLauro, states can no longer opt out from paying for elective abortion.”
For detailed background on the Ryan-DeLauro bill from AUL’s legal experts, as well as information on how current health care reform efforts in Congress threaten the right to life and rights of conscience, visit KeepAbortionOutOfHealthCare.com.