Americans do not want to pay for abortions with their tax dollars. That message was consistent during the debate over health care reform -- polls showed an overwhelming majority of American citizens, whether pro-life or pro-abortion, opposed federal funding of abortion. No shades of gray. This was solid common ground.
Elected representatives in Congress, however, failed to listen, and passed a health care law that marked the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. The public was forced to repeat itself.
Through the elections this November, Americans again spoke clearly about their distaste for funding abortion by repealing and replacing politicians who supported the pro-abortion law.
The message now is simple: repeal the anti-life law.
When then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, declared last March that Congress had to pass the health care bill so that we could “find out what is in it,” she claimed pro-life Americans had nothing to fear. The legal analysis from Americans United for Life’s constitutional attorneys showed otherwise. And since passage of the bill our findings have been proven true: the law permits taxpayer-funded abortion. Nor does the Executive Order provide a remedy.
Consider the following ways that abortion snakes its way throughout the new law.
Violating the principles of the Hyde Amendment, which proponents of reform claimed to honor, taxpayer dollars will be used by insurance plans that cover abortion when they participate in the state insurance exchanges that are set to begin in 2014. However, one need not wait until 2014 to see abortion-funding rear its ugly head.
In July, the Obama administration approved plans by three states – Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Mexico -- to use federal dollars directly for elective abortions in their “high-risk” pools. Only after pro-life groups cried foul, did the administration enact a rule against abortion funding through these pools.
Now, pro-abortion groups are loudly clamoring for this limited policy to be rescinded. And the Obama administration admitted its concession on high-risk pools is not precedent for keeping abortion out of other areas of the health care reform law.
And there’s plenty more.
When the amendment authored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) requiring all insurance plans (not just those participating in the exchanges) to cover “preventive care for women” was added to the health care reform bill, pro-life advocates issued a warning. This could be used as a back-door abortion mandate. The provision does not define “preventive care.” Instead, it left that definition to the discretion of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Tasked with making a recommendation to HRSA, a panel of medical experts from the Institute of Medicine met this month for the first time to discuss what constitutes “preventive care.” The list of groups invited to help “inform” the panel in making the decision is filled with abortion-advocacy groups and includes the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. These organizations have been actively lobbying for abortion-causing drugs such as so-called “emergency contraceptives” to be included in this mandate.
These are just a few examples. In taking up Pelosi’s challenge to “find out” where abortion is hidden in the health care law, we find another twist around every corner. Like a cancer that has metastasized, abortion funding is riddled throughout the health care law.
And life is threatened in other provisions of the health care law. Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), for example, may be used to deny or ration essential care. The ill, the disabled, and the elderly will be particularly vulnerable.
In response to the passage of a pro-abortion health care bill, Americans United for Life Action launched the “Life Counts” campaign. The campaign targeted eleven Congressmen, most self-identified as “pro-life,” who voted for the pro-abortion bill and a pro-abortion candidate for an open seat. Eleven of the 12 were defeated by their pro-life challenger.
Of course, many Americans rallied to oppose President Obama’s health care reform. The Tea Party movement, credited with the massive rejection of tone-deaf incumbents, which in turn resulted in massive gains made by the Republican Party, is full of pro-life Americans.
Florida’s new Senator Marco Rubio said it well: that the reaction by voters was not an embrace of the Republican Party, but an embrace of what the Party promised to be. And the party is, on the record, pro-life. Across the country and at all levels of government, the response by the American people to the pro-life promise was overwhelming.
Despite all the obfuscation and denials, it’s clear that President Obama fulfilled his promise. During his campaign in 2007, he promised his allies at Planned Parenthood that abortion would be “at the center, the heart” of any health care reform that he signed into law.
And it is.
Rotten at its core, this pro-abortion health care law must be repealed quickly before its anti-life agenda takes root.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest is President & CEO of Americans United for Life and AUL Action.