Washington D.C., Dec 7, 2013 / 06:02 am
The Obama administration is being accused of violating federal law by directing members of Congress and congressional staff to over 100 health insurance plans that pay for elective abortions.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said the abortion-providing health care plans show that President Obama's 2010 health care legislation is an "abortion mandate" that "violates federal law and makes taxpayers complicit in the culture of death."
"This is not reform," he said Dec.4.
Smith is the author of a 1983 amendment that bars abortion funding from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The amendment also bars the Office of Personnel Management from funding or engaging in administrative activities in connection with any health plan that includes abortion, Smith's office said.
However, the congressman charged that that elective abortion coverage is included in 103 of the 112 insurance plans in the Washington, D.C. insurance exchanges that members of Congress and congressional staff are being advised to use under the Affordable Care Act.
"Only nine plans offered exclude elective abortion," he said, adding that this information became available only in response to public pressure.
The deadline for eligible federal employees to sign up for the employer-sponsored plans is Dec. 9.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the abortion-providing health plans are "clearly breaking longstanding federal law" and show how the legislation "expands taxpayer funding of abortion."
She said the health plans call into question the agreement then-Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, and other pro-life Democrats made with President Obama. The elected officials agreed to vote for the Affordable Care Act in exchange for an executive order intended to apply federal abortion funding restrictions to the health insurance exchanges.
"Obamacare was forced through only after pro-life Democrats naively accepted a promise and an executive order from the White House that taxpayer dollars would not be used to fund elective abortion," she said Dec. 4. "Promises as well as laws have now been broken."
Rep. Smith pointed to the executive order as well as President Obama's statement that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion." He said the new revelations mean the president's promises "ring hollow."
"Abortion isn't health care – it kills babies and harms women," he stressed. "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 youngest patients."
Smith also charged that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has failed to provide "any" information about abortion coverage in the federal health plans sold in dozens of U.S. states. He is currently sponsoring legislation to require disclosure of abortion coverage in a health care plan on the federal insurance exchanges and to require that any abortion surcharge be "prominently displayed."
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, an education and research affiliate of the Susan B. Anthony List, has released a study that says federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion in the health care legislation could heavily subsidize as many as 111,500 additional abortions each year.