The executive order promised to reassure pro-life Democrats about the health care reform bill is inadequate and does not address several other pro-abortion provisions, several pro-life groups have charged.
“The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says,” the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) commented on Sunday.
The NRLC cited a March 20 letter to Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) by Prof. Robert Destro, a professor of law and former dean of the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America.
“Without the Hyde Amendment, abortions not only may be covered, abortions must be covered,” Prof. Destro said about the Senate health care bill.
The NRLC continued: “A lawmaker who votes for this bill is voting to require federal agencies to subsidize and administer health plans that will pay for elective abortion, and voting to undermine longstanding pro-life policies in other ways as well.”
The group said that the executive order does not correct the omission of “necessary conscience protection language” called “Weldon language.”
Other flaws in the legislation, the NRLC argued, create “dangerous regulatory mandate authorities,” revise Indian health programs, and create “pools of directly appropriated funds that are not covered by existing restrictions on funding of abortion.”
“Pro-life citizens nationwide know that this is a pro-abortion bill,” the NRLC continued, saying these citizens will be reminded of which lawmakers voted against the legislation.
On Sunday Americans United for Life (AUL) said its legal team concluded that an executive order is “not an adequate fix to mitigate this legislation's establishment of taxpayer-funded abortion.”
“An executive order, for example, cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions in the exchanges from receiving federal subsidies,” AUL President and CEO Charmaine Yoest said.
Yoest argued that White House assurances to address the problem of abortion funding in the health care bill through an executive order is “an open acknowledgement that the bill just passed is pro-abortion legislation.”
The pro-life group pledged to dismantle taxpayer-funded abortion at the state level and to begin an “aggressive” state-by-state campaign to help states opt out of subsidizing plans that cover abortions through their exchanges.
“Given that seven out of ten voters agree that no public funds should pay for abortion, I am confident that with hard work we will succeed,” Yoest’s statement concluded.
Rep. Bart Stupak has said his coalition of pro-life Democrats would revisit the issue of abortion funding and in health care and subsidized health plans if its implementation does not satisfy them.
“If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes,” he said in a Sunday noon press conference announcing President Obama’s promised executive order and his support for the Senate health care bill.