Six of Missouri's nine U.S. Congressmen have voted to eliminate abortion funding from President Obama's federal health care law. The Protect Life Act, sponsored by Congressmen Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania
and Dan Lipinski of Illinois, has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 248-173.
Missouri Representatives Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long, and Blaine Luetkemeyer all voted to remove abortion subsidies and abortion mandates from the new federal health care law. Congressmen Russ Carnahan, William "Lacy" Clay, and Emmanuel Cleaver all voted to support taxpayer subsidies of abortion. Congressmen Akin, Graves, and Long, and Congresswoman Hartzler, had all been original co-sponsors of the legislation.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, required for the first time that American taxpayers underwrite the practice of abortion. The new law established subsidies in the form
of "affordability" tax credits and "cost-sharing reductions" to assist lower income individuals to obtain health insurance. Those subsidies could be used to purchase insurance coverage providing abortions.
The President's new health care law also created an abortion mandate for any insurance company offering health care plans through new health insurance exchanges created by the law. Any such company which sells policies which include abortion coverage must impose an abortion surcharge on all its enrollees whether they want such coverage or not. The surcharge must be imposed on every individual
regardless of age, gender, family status, or health condition.Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
hailed the bill's passage. "It is unconscionable to force Americans who believe that human life is precious to use their tax dollars to pay for abortions. These common sense provisions bring last year's health care overhaul into accord with long-standing federal policies prohibiting federal funding for abortion."
Hartzler is referring to what has been known as the Hyde Amendment, which for years has prevented the expenditure of federal dollars for the destruction of unborn human life through the Medicaid program. The Hyde Amendment and other riders to federal appropriations bills have protected American citizens from having any financial participation in the provision of abortion.
Because President Obama's federal health care bill was a new body of federal law regulating private insurance coverage, it did not fall under the limitations established by the Hyde Amendment. President Obama issued an executive order pledging that no federal money would support abortion, but it was meaningless, because the provisions of the law said otherwise.
The language of the Protect Life Act states that no funds from the federal health care law "may be used to pay for abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion," except in cases or rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. The bill passed by the House makes clear that
individuals can still purchase separate health insurance coverage for abortion so long as such coverage is paid for entirely using only non-federal funds.
The Protect Life Act also includes critical conscience protections for health care institutions, insurers, and providers. It prohibits any federal agency from discriminating against any physician, health care professional, hospital, or health insurance plan because of their refusal to perform, participate in, or provide coverage for induced abortions. The bill would also prohibit pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
from requiring any entity to provide access to or training in "abortion services."
Sebelius recently was the keynote speaker at the annual "Power of Choice" fundraiser for the National Abortion
Rights Action League. Sebelius told pro-abortion activists that "we are in a war" with pro-life lawmakers. NARAL leaders cheered Sebelius for "guiding the implementation of the historic Affordable Care Act."
The Protect Life Act now moves to the Senate, where its prospects are dim during this Congress. Even if the bill were to make it through the Senate, President Obama has promised to veto the measure. Obama falsely claims that the bill would "restrict women's private insurance choices."
We encourage you to contact our U.S. Senators to urge them to take up and pass the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358. Tell them you do not want any of your tax dollars to help pay for the killing of unborn children, whether
through federal government programs or private insurance mandates.
You can contact Senator Claire McCaskill by using this link:Senator McCaskill
You can contact Senator Roy Blunt by clicking this link:Senator Blunt