Communications Department

Federal agency directly funds abortions under new Pelosi bill (H.R. 3962)

Oct 29, 2009 | 2009 Press Releases

National Right to Life:
Federal government plan would directly fund abortion
under Pelosi health care bill

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2009) — Regarding the health care bill unveiled today by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), a spokesman for the nation’s largest pro-life organization said, “A vote for this bill is a vote to establish a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds.”
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), referred specifically to language on page 110 of the new bill (H.R. 3962) which explicitly authorizes the “public health insurance option” to pay for all elective abortions.
The “public health insurance option” or “public plan” would be a health insurance program operated directly by the federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The public plan will be a federal agency program, and all funds spent by the agency are federal funds,” Johnson said.  “The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), in an October 9 memo obtained by NRLC, confirmed that all funds spent by the bill’s public plan will be federal funds.  Prominent Democrats who have claimed that the federal government could pay for abortion with ‘private’ funds have been engaged in a big snow job — and in swallowing such a contrived, implausible claim, many journalists have been all too gullible.”
Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) has proposed an amendment that would prohibit the federal government plan from paying for abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest).  But Speaker Pelosi intends to try to force the House to pass the 1990-page bill under a “closed rule” (a procedure that allows no amendments to be considered), reportedly because she fears that the House would adopt the Stupak Amendment if a vote were allowed. 
NRLC and other pro-life groups are urging House members to vote against imposition of the closed rule.  The showdown could occur on the House floor as soon as November 5 or 6.
“Anyone voting to forbid amendments to this bill is in effect voting to set up a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds,” Johnson said.
While running for President, Barack Obama promised Planned Parenthood that his health care legislation would create a public plan that would cover abortions.  “Obama has never recanted his promise that the federal government plan will cover elective abortion — he just wants to pretend that a federal agency could spend ‘private’ funds, an untenable claim,” Johnson said.  “The White House and top Democratic congressional leaders are trying to smuggle federal government funding of abortion into law, behind smokescreens of misleading, contrived language.”
The bill also has a second objectionable provision relating to abortion — it would allow federal subsidies to help pay for the cost of private health plans that cover elective abortion, a departure from longstanding federal policy.   Stupak’s amendment would correct this problem, as well.
A letter sent by NRLC on October 21 to members of the U.S. House regarding the health care bill (under its previous number, H.R. 3200) and the anticipated “closed rule” is posted here.  A summary of recent polls about how abortion should be handled in health care legislation is here.
The National  Right to Life Committee is the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, comprised of approximately 3,000 local chapters.