Editor’s note. The following are excerpts of remarks made today on the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) about H.R.7, No Taxpayer Funding Act.
HR 7 seeks to accomplish three important goals:
1. Make the Hyde Amendment and other current abortion funding prohibitions permanent;
2. Ensure that the Affordable Care Act faithfully conforms with the Hyde Amendment as promised by the President;
3. Provide full disclosure, transparency and the prominent display of the extent to which any health insurance plan on the exchange funds abortion.
Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States stood just 10 feet from where I stand in September 2009 and told a joint session of Congress that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”
On March 24, 2010, President Obama issued an executive order that said the Affordable Care Act “maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.”
We now know that’s not true at all. The ACA does not extend Hyde Amendment restrictions to the newly created health insurance exchanges.
As my colleagues will recall, the Hyde Amendment has two parts. It prohibits direct funding for abortion and bans funding for any insurance coverage that includes abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Under the Affordable Care Act, massive amounts of public funds in the form of tax credits – $796 billion in direct spending over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – will pay for insurance plans, many, perhaps most of which will include elective abortion. That massively violates the Hyde Amendment.
We have learned that every single Obamacare plan in Connecticut and Rhode Island includes abortion on demand.
In my own state of New Jersey, my staff and I have learned after a great deal of work that of the 31 plans offered in the state, at least 14 plans subsidize abortion on demand. Yet none of the plans make this information available to the consumer shopping online. This is the case in state after state.
To further understand how the ACA expands public funding for abortion, my colleagues don’t have to look any further than the DC Health Link—our own portal for health insurance. Of the 112 health insurance plans available to members of congress and staff only nine exclude elective abortion. 103 plans—over 90%–subsidize abortion on demand. About 75% of our insurance premiums are subsidized by the taxpayer so the taxpayer is clearly being compelled to subsidize elective abortions.
Mr. Speaker, since some health insurance plans offered on the exchange have already been purchased, HR7—just like the Hyde Amendment—makes the elimination of public funding for abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, applicable in the ACA next year—beginning on January 1, 2015, at the start of a new contract year.
So in the meantime, in order to ensure robust transparency, HR7 adds a major new provision requiring full disclosure and prominent display of “the extent of coverage” of abortion, if any, and separate disclosure of any abortion surcharge.
Obamacare requires premium payers to be assessed a separate abortion surcharge every month to pay for abortions. We have learned that consumers may never know they are paying the surcharge, despite assurances to the contrary when the ACA was passed.
In 2009, Senator Ben Nelson said
“if you are receiving Federal assistance to buy insurance, and if that plan has any abortion coverage, the insurance company must bill you separately, and you must pay separately from your own personal funds–perhaps a credit card transaction, your separate personal check, or automatic withdrawal from your bank account–for that abortion coverage. Now, let me say that again. You have to write two checks: one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion.”
However, research published by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) indicates that insurance carriers are not actually billing the surcharge separately at all. In fact, Gretchen Borchelt, director of state reproductive health policy at the National Women’s Law Center, told the Huffington Post that “we used to talk about it as being two checks that the consumer would have to write because of the segregation requirements, but that’s not the way it’s being implemented.”
Finally, Mr. Speaker, because abortion brutally dismembers, decapitates or chemically poisons an unborn child to death, Americans have consistently demanded that public funds not pay for abortion.
A huge majority—well over 60%–according to most polls show that women and men in this country don’t want to be complicit in abortion by subsidizing it. A December 2009 Quinnipiac poll found 72% opposed to “allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a health reform bill.”
Another poll by International Communications Research asked “If the choice were up to you, would you want your own insurance policy to include abortion?” 69% of women said no!
Mr. Speaker, that’s because an ever growing number of people recognize that abortion isn’t health care—it kills babies and harms women.
We live in an age of ultrasound imaging—the ultimate window to the womb and the child who resides there. We are in the midst of a fetal health care revolution, an explosion of benign interventions designed to diagnose, treat and cure the precious lives of these youngest patients.
HR 7 will help save lives and will reduce abortions.
The Judiciary Committee Report accompanying HR 7 suggests that the Hyde Amendment has saved over a million children because 1 in 4 women who would have procured an abortion don’t go through with it if public funding isn’t available.
HR 7 will reduce abortions. HR 7 will help save lives.