October 14, 2011 Print
Capitol Building

House Strips Abortion Funding From ObamaCare

by Karla Dial

The members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday evening passed a pro-life bill closing the loopholes of a federal law that uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortion on a 251-172 vote.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — better known as ObamaCare — the federal government will funnel taxpayer dollars to abortion providers through insurance companies. The Protect life Act (HR 358) passing the House is the first major hurdle to overcome in keeping that from happening.

“We’re a nation that values all life,” Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., said during the debate. “(But) for some reason, we think a baby born five weeks early is worthy of hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical technology to save, but if that same mother wanted to hire a doctor to reach into her womb and kill that child with a pair of scissors five weeks before delivery, some would demand her choice must be protected.”

When ObamaCare was debated before becoming law in 2010, conservatives were concerned about the fact that it directly subsidized the abortion industry. To allay those fears, President Obama signed an executive order saying no such direct funding would be allowed. But he left in place indirect funding through federally subsidized insurance exchanges — and legislators say his executive order simply doesn’t go far enough.

“With this bipartisan legislation, we are continuing to keep our pledge to listen to the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer funding of abortion,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the vote. “The people’s will should be reflected in the law of the land, as opposed to an executive order that has no force of law and was deliberately conceived for that reason.”

The bill faces a more uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Some lawmakers opposing the bill are interpreting its protections for health care workers who don’t want to be forced to perform abortions as enabling hospitals to turn away women in life-threatening circumstances. In truth, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 specifically prohibits such actions — and three “dear colleague” letters circulated this week on Capitol Hill by cosponsors of HR 358 underlined that fact.

“When the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers don’t have to intervene,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

President Obama vowed Wednesday to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Read HR 358.

To see how each member voted on the bill, click here. Scroll down to the action on HR 358 that begins at 7:18:50 p.m.

Watch SBA List’s education video, explaining how the health care law funds abortion.

Watch the Population Research Institute’s video, “Obamacare: The Facts on Abortion.”

Read the National Right to Life Committee’s generic affidavit on the issue.

Read the “dear colleague” letters cosponsors of HR 358 circulated before the vote to other congressmen, detailing why Pelosi is wrong about the bill and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986.

Let your representative know your feelings about his vote for or against the Protect Life Act. Find your elected official in our Action Center.