Today, House Democrats are expected to unveil a health care overhaul bill that will likely include new federal funding for abortions not covered by the Hyde Amendment, a funding restriction on abortion limited to programs funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill. Leading pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) indicated this week that he and 40 like-minded, pro-life Democrats will work with Republicans to “torpedo healthcare reform” unless he gets a vote on his amendment to explicitly exclude abortion funding from health care reform.
Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said, “Health care reform, including any public option, must include explicit language prohibiting abortion coverage and funding otherwise American tax payers will be forced to pay for abortions with their tax dollars. This move by Congress would be at odds with 71% of Americans who oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. The Capps Amendment, added to the House health overhaul bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up, explicitly allows abortion coverage and funding.”
Mary Harned, AUL’s Staff Counsel said, “If the House Democratic Leadership does not allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to prohibit abortion funding, pro-life Members of Congress may vote against the rule and the bill itself. Despite claims by Speaker Pelosi, abortion funding will become a reality in health care reform unless language is included in the Bill that explicitly excludes abortion funding and coverage.”
Speaker Pelosi claimed last month that the health care bill “does not expand any funding for abortion.” However, the Capps Amendment permits the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include abortion as a mandatory minimum benefit in the new public health care plan, and allows private insurance plans that cover abortion to receive government subsidies. The provision also requires that all areas of the country contain one private plan that covers abortion.
Americans United for Life successfully defended the Hyde Amendment before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980. Their legislative arm, AUL Action met with the White House last month regarding abortion in health care reform. For more legal analysis and to view AUL Action’s video ad about abortion in health care reform, please visit: RealHealthCareRespectsLife.com.