NRL News

National Right to Life applauds U.S. House Vote to enact permanent, government-wide Hyde Amendment

by | Jan 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) today commended the 238 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to pass the landmark No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), but directed sharp criticism at the 183 House members who voted against the bill.

The White House issued a statement, in advance of the House vote, affirming that President Trump “would sign the bill.”

“Over two million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment,” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president. “With today’s vote, we are one step closer to getting the federal government out of the business of paying for abortion once and for all. The 183 House members who voted against the bill will be firmly marked as supporters of federal funding for elective abortion.”

H.R. 7, sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent, government-wide basis, applicable to both longstanding federal health programs and to the new programs created by Obamacare. Under the bill, health plans that cover elective abortions would not qualify for federal subsidies, although such plans could still be sold to those who wish to purchase them with personal funds.

In the years prior to Barack Obama’s presidency, an array of long-established laws, including the Hyde Amendment, had created a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that included coverage of abortion, with narrow exceptions. However, key provisions of the 2010 Obamacare law sharply departed from that longstanding policy.

Among other objectionable provisions, the Obamacare law authorized massive federal tax subsidies to assist many millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that cover abortion on demand.

Some Obamacare defenders originally insisted that the premium-subsidy program was not really “federal funding” of abortion because a “separate payment” would be required to cover the costs of the abortion coverage, which NRLC dismissed as a mere “bookkeeping gimmick.”

The debate over the significance of the “separate payment” was rendered rather academic by the Obama Administration’s later actions ignoring the two-payment requirement – a development that few journalists or “factcheckers” took note of, despite the previous credence given to the “two-payment” gimmick.

See “Bait-and-Switch: The Obama Administration’s Flouting of Key Part of Nelson ‘Deal’ on ObamaCare.”

Further details on specific components of H.R. 7 are found in National Right to Life’s January 19, 2017, letter to the House of Representatives, available here.

More extensive documentation on the abortion-expanding provisions of Obamacare, and the overall history of limitations on federal subsidies for abortion, are found in NRLC’s congressional testimony here.