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Missouri Family E-News

October 1, 2014

DC Audit:
Taxpayers Paying for Abortions

A federal watchdog agency has confirmed that U.S. taxpayers are paying for surgical and chemical abortions under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

The Government Accountability Office has issued a report revealing that 1,036 plans in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges are paying for elective abortions.

The audit found that in five states all health insurance exchange plans included elective abortion coverage.  In another eight states, 95 to 100 percent of the plans paid for elective abortions. 

President Obama had  promised that no federal dollars would be used to underwrite abortion coverage.  He even issued an executive order to that effect to mollify opposition from within his own political party.

Yet the GAO report verifies what knowledgeable observers knew at the time.  The President's executive order had no legal effect, because it conflicted with the law's own provisions, which clearly authorized federal subsidies (called "affordability credits") for abortion coverage.

The GAO audit also revealed that insurers are uniformly failing to collect an abortion surcharge that was required in every health insurance plan that included abortion coverage.  Under that provision, individuals were to be assessed a separate fee of $1 per month for abortion "services," regardless of the age, gender, or ability to conceive of the insured.

Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana says that Americans should be outraged.  "Many of us argued at the time Obamacare passed that it would funnel taxpayer dollars to elective abortions.  This independent report validates our claims and proves that yet another Obamacare promise has been broken."

Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, charges that the architects of Obamacare built a "purposely deceptive accounting scheme" into the Affordable Care Act.

"We were told we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.  Now we know what exactly is in it:  corporate welfare for the Administration's abortion industry cronies."

Missouri is one of 24 states that exercised an opt-out provision in Obamacare which authorized it to exclude abortion coverage from health insurance plans issued in the state.  However, Missouri citizens are still paying for abortions in other states through their federal taxes.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Smith to end the abortion subsidies.  The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is currently before the U.S. Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is unlikely to take it up for debate.


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State Representative
Seeks Relief from Abortion Rx Mandate

A federal appeals court will soon be deciding whether individual employees can be exempted from the federal government's contraceptive and abortion drug mandate based on religious objections.  The case involves a Missouri state legislator who objects to inclusion of abortifacient coverage in his state-sponsored family health insurance coverage.

The lawsuit was filed by State Representative Paul Wieland of Imperial, and his wife Theresa, who are devout Catholics.  Representative Wieland and his fellow legislators are provided group health insurance coverage through the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHP).  As a result of the federal Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare), MCHP plans must include coverage of abortifacient drugs and devices.  The edict stands in contradiction to longstanding Missouri law, which allows individuals to opt out of contraceptive coverage.

The Affordable Care Act authorized the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to specify the "essential benefits" to be included in all health insurance plans issued in the United States.  Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius subsequently issued an edict requiring that "preventive health care" include free coverage of all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration without copays or deductibles.  Such coverage includes so-called "morning-after pills" like Ella and Plan B, which are capable of destroying a human embryo in its earliest stages of development.

Representative Wieland is hoping that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby and
Conestoga Woods cases will provide a boost to his litigation.  In those cases, the High  Court ruled that closely held corporations can be exempted from the contraceptive mandate on religious grounds.  The justices decided that family-owned businesses are constitutionally entitled to the free exercise of their religion, and do not have to fund drugs that may take human life in their employee health insurance plans.

"If Hobby Lobby, a for-profit, commercial enterprise does not have to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees, then certainly mom and dad don't have to provide it for their daughters," says Tim Belz, a special counsel with the Thomas More Society, who is representing the Wielands in the case."  "It simply can't be fair that Hobby Lobby has these rights and individuals don't."

"The government has no business forcing parents to purchase coverage of abortion drugs and contraceptives for their family in violation of their religious beliefs," Belz adds.  "The government's position is a wrecking ball in the cathedral of conscience rights."

Representative Wieland says he and his wife believe they must take a stand for their faith.  "We see abortion-inducing drugs as intrinsically evil, and we cannot in good conscience preach one thing to our kids and then just go with the flow on our insurance."

The Wielands' case is before a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.  A federal district court judge in St. Louis had previously ruled against the Wielands' claim.  U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton decided that the state representative and his wife lacked the legal standing to challenge provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The lawsuit has major significance, because it is the only litigation filed in any federal court against the contraceptive mandate by private individuals.
As expected, the positive religious freedom benefits of the Hobby Lobby decision has been muted by recent action by the Department of Health and Human Services.  HHS officials have announced they will implement an "accommodation" for family-owned businesses who have moral objections to the contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.  A similar "accommodation" had been previously been implemented for non-profit religious organizations.

Under the "accomodation," employers with religious convictions can file notice of their objection to the mandate with the federal government.  Federal officials would then notify the company's health insurer or third-party administrator to provide employees with the contraceptive coverage "free of charge."  The result is that an employer's group health insurance plan will still be facilitating coverage of drugs and devices to which they morally object.  The notion that this coverage will be provided at no ultimate cost to the employer is nothing short of ludicrous.

Pro-life Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey has sharply condemned the latest ruse by the Obama Administration.  "This is just another highly coercive regulation--a direct, obnoxious government attack on the conscience rights of religious entities and individuals.  This overreach by the Obama Administration is intended only to ensnare family businesses back into the web of the mandate."

Arina Grosau, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, says the "accommodation" is a bureaucratic sham.  "The employer still remains the legal gateway by which these drugs and services will be provided to their employees.  The Obama Administration is merely doubling down on its plans to punish charities and non-profits that assist the poor and homeless such as the Little Sisters of the Poor."

We salute Representative Wieland and his wife for their moral courage in standing alone against this abusive federal regulation.  Please be praying for them as they await a final ruling in this important case.

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