President Obama made a promise that
no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.
This Thursday, February 25th, a select group of leaders from both parties are attending a White House health care summit. Our Washington staff is engaged in outreach to this select group. We’ve put together an action sheet with six specific questions to ask President Obama about his health care proposal.
Please add your name to our petition to let the health care conferees know that you want them to ask about the six topics covered below:
February 23, 2010
I am writing on behalf of Americans United for Life Action to express our strong concerns over the Administration’s health care proposal, released on February 22, 2010.
The President and Administration officials have stated that no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion and federal conscience laws will remain in place. The President has not carried through on his promise in his current proposal, and in fact his plan creates a radical departure from existing law and policy.
As you go into the Health Care Summit this Thursday, we urge you to raise the following issues with the President and Democratic leaders on respecting life in health care reform.
1. Under the President’s proposal, as in the Senate passed bill, the Health Resources and Services Administration has the power to require private insurance plans to include abortion coverage as part of “preventive care.” If that happens, Americans will have no opportunity to avoid paying for abortions.
2. The President’s proposal also allows insurance plans that receive federal subsidies to cover abortions. This is a clear departure from existing law, which forbids federal funds from subsidizing insurance plans that cover abortions (see, e.g. the Hyde Amendment and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program). While it is true that the President’s proposal and the Senate-passed bill provide that federally funded subsidies cannot directly pay for those abortions that currently cannot be paid for by federal funds under the Hyde amendment (all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother), that separation will be rendered meaningless if the Hyde amendment, which must be added to an appropriations bill every year, is ever eliminated. Pro-abortion lawmakers are committed to getting rid of the Hyde Amendment, and it is perhaps not cynical to see this as the first step in a two-step plan to do that. If they succeed in getting rid of the Hyde Amendment, these new federal subsidies will directly pay for any and all abortions.
3. The President’s proposal and the Senate-passed bill create a new abortion tax. Under the President’s plan and the Senate-passed bill, ALL individuals who participate in plans in the Exchange that include elective abortion coverage, even if they do so unwittingly, will directly pay part of their own premiums into an account that pays for nothing but elective abortions. The plan provides that each and every enrollee in such a plan (or their employer on their behalf) must write a separate check for elective abortion coverage, even if that enrollee never intends to have an abortion. In an apparent attempt to hide this abortion tax, the language in the Senate-passed bill prohibits insurance plans from emphasizing this requirement to prospective enrollees. Further, many individuals may not have the choice to enroll in a plan that does not cover abortions. If John Doe works for XYZ, a small business, and XYZ decides to enroll John and the rest of its employees in an insurance plan that includes abortion coverage in an exchange, John and his coworkers will be forced to pay this abortion tax.
4. Under the President’s proposal, as in the Senate-passed bill, states will have to act to prevent subsidies from going to plans that cover abortions in their state, turning on its head the traditional federal approach to abortion.
5. The President’s proposal, as in the Senate bill appears to permit a rationing of care for the most seriously ill and frail patients. Patients who survive under our current system may die prematurely if such rationing took effect. Also, the President’s proposal does not explicitly ban assisted suicide with the use of federal funds. Both of these defects in the plan must be addressed.
6. The President’s proposal, as in the Senate bill, does not provide adequate conscience protection. The President’s proposal does not explicitly prohibit any government entity or program (federal, state, or local) from discriminating against health care providers that do not want to participate in abortions. This defect in the legislation should be corrected.
Finally, we note that today’s proposal includes substantial funding for community health centers, with no prohibition on the use of that funding for abortions. Such funding must not extend to Planned Parenthood, as it did in the Senate bill, an organization whose abortion services are deeply offensive to most Americans.
In closing, we urge you to raise these concerns with President Obama and your Democratic colleagues during the Heath Care Summit. AUL stands ready to assist you in any way possible to ensure these important issues are settled and life is respected in our laws.
Charmaine Yoest, Ph. D.
President & CEO
Americans United for Life Action
Please click here to sign our petition.