Washington Times Op-EdSMITH: Making the taxpayer an accessory to the abortion trade
Agree or disagree with public funding of abortion — a significant majority of Americans oppose subsidizing abortion — but no one likes to be misled, fooled, deceived or defrauded.
In the run-up to passage of Obamacare, Americans were repeatedly told and reassured by President Obama himself, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in October 2009, that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”
In an 11th-hour ploy to garner the votes of a remnant of pro-life congressional Democrats absolutely needed for passage in the House, the president issued an executive order that said ” the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.”
It turns out those promises have not been kept. Americans woke up to the launch of the Obamacare exchanges on Oct. 1 only to discover that we’ve been misled and deceived.
As with Mr. Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their current health insurance policy if they like it, implementation in the Obamacare exchanges of massive public funding of abortion undermines the president’s credibility and word. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of unborn babies will needlessly die from dismemberment in surgical abortion or from chemical poisoning and forced expulsion from the womb.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the new Obamacare abortion coverage may lead to between 71,000 and 111,500 more publicly funded abortions each year.
Obamacare not only violates the landmark Hyde Amendment with impunity, but violates a lesser known policy I authored in 1983 — the Smith Amendment — which prohibits abortion funding in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
At its core, the Hyde Amendment has two parts. It prohibits funding for abortion and funding for any insurance plan that includes abortion except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Rollout of the Obamacare exchanges reveals that many health insurance plans throughout the nation will subsidize abortion on demand — even late-term abortions. For example, the preliminary data suggests that every insurance plan on the Connecticut and Rhode Island exchanges will pay for abortion on demand.
Billions of taxpayers’ dollars will now be handed out as credits to buy pro-abortion health insurance — a clear violation of the Hyde Amendment’s fundamental principle of restricting funds to abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans.
Obamacare further breaks with long-standing law by establishing new abortion surcharges and an unseemly marketing secrecy clause.
The new law requires premium payers to be assessed an abortion surcharge every month to pay for abortions. However, many pro-life Americans may unwittingly purchase pro-abortion plans because of a marketing secrecy clause embedded in Obamacare, which stipulates that the surcharge be minimally disclosed only at the time of enrollment. In other words, bury it in the fine print.
To overcome this highly deceptive practice, I’ve introduced the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, a bill that requires information regarding either inclusion or exclusion of abortion coverage as well as the existence of an abortion surcharge to be “prominently displayed.” (To rid Obamacare of its massive expansion of abortion-on-demand facilitation and funding, 136 bipartisan co-sponsors and I have also introduced the No Taxpayers Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 7).
The amendment I offered three decades ago to ban abortion funding in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Programs is still current law. Like the Hyde Amendment, the Smith Amendment prohibits the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from funding or even providing monies to administer any plan that includes abortion. Under Obamacare, OPM administers the new multistate health plans, one of which by law must be pro-life. That raises the question: What about the others?
Making matters worse, the Office of Personnel Management issued a regulation a few days ago concerning health insurance coverage for members of Congress and their staffs that violates the Smith Amendment. Pursuant to the regulation, OPM is poised to administer and make payments to insurance plans that include abortion.
Abortion isn’t health care — it kills babies and harms women. 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.
Obamacare’s abortion mandate violates federal law and makes taxpayers complicit in the culture of death. This is not reform.
(Rep. Chris Smith is a New Jersey Republican currently in his 17th term.)