National Right to Life Applauds U.S. House Vote to End Abortion Subsidies Under Obamacare and Enact Permanent, Government-Wide Hyde Amendment


WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) today commended the 227 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to pass the landmark No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), but directed sharp criticism at the 188 House members who voted against the bill, and at President Obama, whose White House issued a veto threat.

At the time Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, an array of long-established laws, including the Hyde Amendment, had created a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that included coverage of abortion, with narrow exceptions. However, key provisions of the 2010 Obamacare health law sharply departed from that longstanding policy. Among other objectionable provisions, the Obamacare law authorized massive federal tax subsidies to assist many millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

Some Obamacare defenders originally insisted that the new premium-subsidy program was not really “federal funding” of abortion because a “separate payment” would be required to cover the costs of the abortion coverage, which NRLC dismissed as a mere “bookkeeping gimmick.” The debate over the significance of the “separate payment” has been rendered rather academic because the Obama Administration is ignoring the two-payment requirement – a development that few journalists or “factcheckers” have taken note of, despite the previous credence given to the “two-payment” gimmick. See “Bait-and-Switch: The Obama Administration’s Flouting of Key Part of Nelson ‘Deal’ on ObamaCare,” http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/12/bait-and-switch-the-obama-adminstrations-flouting-of-key-part-of-nelson-deal-on-obamacare/.

H.R. 7, sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-Il.), would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent, government-wide basis, applicable to both longstanding federal health programs and to the new programs created by Obamacare. Under the bill, health plans that cover elective abortions would not qualify for federal subsidies, although such plans could still be sold to those who wish to purchase them with personal funds.

On today’s vote on passage, the bill was supported by 221 Republicans and six Democrats. It was opposed by one Republican and 187 Democrats, many of whom echoed attacks on the bill found in a veto threat issued by the White House.

“The White House veto threat demonstrates yet again that President Obama is engaging in establishing massive federal subsidies for abortion on demand, notwithstanding his evasions and denials,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “The 188 House members who voted against the bill will be firmly marked as supporters of federal funding for elective abortion.”

Further details on specific components of H.R. 7 are found in NRLC’s January 24 letter to the House of Representatives (http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/ahc/NRLCToHouseHR7.pdf). More extensive documentation on the abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, and the overall history of limitations on federal subsidies for abortion, are found in NRLC’s congressional testimony at
http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/ahc/ProtectLifeActDouglasJohnsonTestimony.pdf.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.