Second Abortion Bill Introduced
Special Report - August 9, 2010
Senators Tom Coburn, MD (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate that is aimed at excluding coverage for elective abortions from the newly enacted health care reform law. The bill, S.3723Excluding Abortion Coverage from Health Reform Act of 2010, was introduced on August 5 with 24 cosponsors, including North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. It is a companion bill to a House measure introduced in April by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA). That bill, H.R. 5111Protect Life Act, currently has 121 cosponsors, including North Carolina Representatives Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones, Patrick McHenry and Mike McIntyre.
According to Senator Coburn, S.3723 “guarantees that no federal taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions.” In a press release announcing the bill, Senator Coburn explained that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “does not prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions or subsidizing coverage for such abortions.” He also noted that President Obama’s executive order issued in March 2010, which purported to apply existing federal abortion restrictions to the health care reform act, “fails to restrict abortion coverage in the newly-created health insurance Exchanges or protect against other federal subsidies for abortion.”
According to Senator Coburn’s office, S.3723, which has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, prevents federal taxpayers from paying for elective abortions by:
- applying the Hyde amendment to the health care reform law, requiring abortion plans to be sold separately from health care plans in the new Exchanges that will be in operation and will receive federal dollars;
- preventing any federal agencies or appointees from mandating private insurance plans to cover abortion;
- codifying the Hyde-Weldon provision to protect health care providers from being penalized by state and local governments or by the federal government for refusing to participate in providing abortions;
- preventing the Office of Personnel Management from contracting with or administering health plans that include abortion; and
- preventing all taxpayer funds under the new health care law from being used to pay for elective abortion services or coverage.
“The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to footing the bill for elective abortion,” said Senator Orrin Hatch in a press release announcing the introduction of the bill. “The President has promised that federal dollars will not pay for elective abortions, but the loopholes in the health legislation clearly leave the door wide open for that to happen. Our bill slams that door and effectively guarantees that won’t happen.”
Federal Abortion Bill Introduced - August 2, 2010
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