Pro-Life Coalition Warns: Obamacare ‘Stability’ Deal Without Hyde Amendment Will Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortion

abortion
AP/Esteban Felix

A coalition of 67 national and state pro-life groups is warning Congress that a vote for the Alexander-Murray Obamacare “stability” bill is a vote for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand.

In a joint letter to members of Congress, the leaders of the coalition asserted their opposition to any spending bill that includes cost-sharing reduction payments that are not protected by the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding provision that prohibits taxpayer funds from being used for most abortions.

The pro-life groups state:

We are strongly opposed to Obamacare stabilization funding unless amended so such funds cannot be used for plans that include elective abortion. In addition, we will oppose any larger legislative package that includes stabilization funds for abortion-covering plans. …Any Member voting for the Alexander-Murray proposal, or other Obamacare stabilization legislation not covered by the Hyde amendment, would not only be voting to sustain what many have called the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade, but would also be voting to directly appropriate taxpayer dollars for insurance that includes elective abortion.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) proposed one stabilization fund that would appropriate monies for the Obamacare subsidies known as the “cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program.” CSRs provide additional funds to health insurance companies which, they claim, are required to keep health insurance costs low.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) also offered a “stabilization” bill that would make payments to abortion-covering insurance plans to reduce health insurance costs.

“Both Alexander-Murray and Collins-Nelson payments are in the Obamacare funding stream and should not underwrite plans that cover abortion,” the pro-life groups write.

“For decades, the Hyde amendment and other funding limitation amendments such as the Smith Federal Employee Health Benefits Program amendment prevented federal taxpayer funding for abortion or for insurance coverage that included abortion,” they add. “In stark contrast, enactment of Obamacare ushered in a new era of abortion funding unleashing federal subsidies for insurance coverage that includes abortion on demand.”

Politico, in fact, notes this week:

The Alexander-Murray bill doesn’t have the prohibitions on federal funding of abortion commonly known as the Hyde amendment, which has angered a key anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, and House Republicans.

But Democrats in the Senate, who will be needed to help pass the bill, are already frustrated that the GOP has twisted the intent of the bipartisan compromise in order to repeal the mandate. It’s hard to see how they’ll be eager to enact new Hyde language.

The Politico report states Senate Republicans are now rationalizing that Obamacare already prohibits use of federal funds for abortions, and that additional restrictions are not necessary.

“That claim might sound nice now, but it’s not what Republicans have argued since Obamacare passed, nor is it consistent with the facts,” writes policy analyst Christopher Jacobs at the Federalist. “To claim otherwise insults the intelligence of the pro-life community, and voters at large.”

Jacobs observes that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Vice President Mike Pence have previously stated unequivocally that Obamacare forces taxpayers to fund abortions.

Secondly, he notes Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated in December 2009 that Obamacare’s abortion funding restrictions are “significantly weaker” than the Hyde Amendment.

To those Republican senators who say President Donald Trump can always boost enforcement of so-called Obamacare restrictions on abortion funding with executive orders, Jacobs responds with the words of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who said in March 2010:

This bill expands abortion funding to the greatest extent in history. I have heard that the President is contemplating an executive order to try to limit this. Members should not be fooled. Executive orders cannot override the clear intent of a statute … If an executive order moves the abortion funding in this bill away from where it is now, it will be struck down as unconstitutional because executive orders cannot constitutionally do that.

“Senate Republicans have already attempted to claim that the insurer ‘stability’ bill will bring benefits to taxpayers, even though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office believes the bill will give a windfall directly to insurance companies,” Jacobs writes. “They should not worsen the spectacle of rationalizing bad policy by attempting to render seven years of arguments they made to the pro-life community meaningless—for they only beclown themselves in the process.”

The letter to members of Congress was signed by Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias, March for Life Education and Defense Fund President Jeanne Mancini, Concerned Women for America President and CEO Penny Young Nance, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, and more than 60 other pro-life leaders.

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