Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2010 / 11:23 am
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, welcomed a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that declared federal funds will not be used to cover elective abortions in the new high-risk insurance pools that are beginning to be implemented in some states. At the same time, he said that the U.S. bishops were “gravely concerned” that some states had planned to cover elective abortions with federal money.
Earlier this week, New Mexico and Pennsylvania rolled out Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP) programs which drew on federal funds to subsidize insurance plans for those who did not have insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
Cardinal DiNardo explained in his statement that the program introduced in Pennsylvania, “while purporting not to fund ‘elective’ abortions, made clear in its text that all abortions that satisfy the requirements of certain Pennsylvania statutes (i.e., all abortions that are not illegal in that state) would be covered, and reimbursed, with a combination of private premiums and federal funds drawn from the U.S. Treasury.”
The New Mexico program stated in its original plan that it would cover elective abortions. Critics alleged that the plans demonstrated the duplicity of those who supported the health care bill and the uselessness of Obama’s executive order, which said that besides the exceptions outlined by the Hyde Amendment, the federal government would not fund abortions in community health centers or insurance exchanges.