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Rep. Ellsworth’s Proposal Does Not Prevent Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform

Yesterday, the House Rules Committee announced that the “rule” for considering the sweeping health care legislation will encompass the language put forward by Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind. that the House leadership is falsely describing as pro-life. By allowing the Ellsworth language, House Democratic leaders hope to address the reluctance of pro-life Democrats to vote for the health bill.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life said, “The Ellsworth Amendment will explicitly authorize federally funded abortions in the public option. Putting a pro-life label on the amendment doesn’t change that fact. The only way to ensure that health care reform does not mandate abortion funding and coverage is to include explicit language similar to the Hyde Amendment, such as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.”

The Ellsworth proposal does not alter the provisions in H.R. 3962 that explicitly allow federal funding of abortion through the public option, and permit federal subsidies to go to private insurance plans that cover abortion.  The Ellsworth language simply provides details for how funds will be segregated, and that they will be distributed by an independent contractor.

Americans United for Life’s legal analysis of H.R. 3962 is explained in detail here.

Americans United for Life is the first national pro-life organization in America. In 1980, AUL successfully defended the Hyde Amendment before the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. McRae.  Visit AUL Action’s RealHealthCareRespectsLife.com, for background from our legal team about the current health care reform bills threat to the right to life and rights of conscience.