By: Amy Lutz
I would like to post exactly what this health care plan means for abortions in this country:
*Here is a full transcript of HR 3590, the bill passed on Sunday:http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/text
I personally have read the sections regarding abortion (sec. 1303 specifically) and plan to finish the entire bill at some point.
*The National Right to Life Committee recently released an analysis of HR 3590 and it was updated on March 18. I recommend that the entire article as well as the NRLC's letter to Congress be read.http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCMemoCommHealth.html
Here are the basic points of the article:
-The bill provides will allow direct federal funding for about 1250 community health centers. This provision (The Manager's Amendment) was added near the end of debate and Harry Reid immediately filed a cloture petition that limited debate on the provision.
*There is no current legislation to prevent CHCs from performing abortions (except for the Hyde agreement to be discussed later).
-The Manager's Amendment allocates $7 billion to the Community Health Centers.(Sec. 10503) Because these funds come directly from the health care bill, the funds will not be attached to the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. Therefore, a loophole exists because the funds are not covered under the Hyde Amendment.
*The Hyde Amendment is a provision attached to the annual bill that prevents federal funds to be allocated to abortion (except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest)
-"There is already an organized effort underway by the Reproductive Health Access Project to encourage Community Health Centers to perform abortions, 'as an integrated part of primary health care.'” (http://www.reproductiveaccess.org/getting_started/faq.htm
-President Obama recommended the $7 billion to increase to $11 billion on February 22
-Although CHCs do not provide a large amount of abortions, the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) is campaigning to increase the availability of abortions in CHCs. They suggest that practitioners mention to patients the availability of abortion services during individual examinations, which is in no way illegal.
-CHCs receive about 2/3 of their funds from the annual appropriations bill; therefore, they will still receive funds from outside sources that can potentially be used to provide abortions.
-Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, receives millions of dollars from the annual appropriations bill. How it bypasses the Hyde Amendment, I am not entirely sure. Even if the funds are not directly allocated to abortion, this seems a little unconstitutional to me.
-There is nothing in the bill that specifically prevents any funds from being directed at abortion.
*The letter to the House of Representatives from the National Right to Life Committee provides more examples. The full text can be found here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/HouseLetteronAbortionProvisions.html
*The National Organization for Women is pursuing a repeal of the Hyde Amendmenthttp://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/03/a-new-push-against-hyde-with-h.html?wprss=44
*Regarding the Executive Order issued by President Obama to keep federal funds from being allocated to abortion: (http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/21/obama-executive-order-on-abortion-funding/
) and (http://lungren.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=608&Itemid=86
-Section 3 references the allocation of funds to CHCs, but restates that federal funds cannot be allocated for abortion under EXISTING law such as the Hyde Amendment. Again, since the $7 billion (or $11 billion) allocated for CHCs bypasses the Hyde Law, the executive order does nothing to change that.
-Executive orders cannot override statutory law. Therefore, this morning when Obama signed HR 3590 into law, the executive order became almost completely null and void.
-Supreme Court precedence has proven that executive orders have been struck down in the past if they impeded statutory law.
-An Executive Order cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions from participating in the exchanges.
-Although Obama will probably not rescind the Executive Order in the near future, it still remains a possibility. Any of his successors can also rescind it if they so choose. I personally do not want an important issue such as abortion to depend on the whims of a single politician.
So far, I have read parts of HR 3590, but not all. I will admit that the bill is confusing, difficult to read, and written almost completely in legal jargon so who knows exactly what is in it.