The bill 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. 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.
[The Stupak] amendment 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.
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.
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.
H.R. 3962 replicates the Capps amendment, passed in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Therefore, it remains true that the bill clearly does not incorporate the Hyde amendment. Instead it accomplishes the opposite of the Hyde amendment. While Hyde prohibits funding for abortion through government programs, the newly created public option will be authorized to pay for abortions. Similarly, while the Hyde amendment prohibits funding for coverage that includes abortion, H.R. 3962 establishes an accounting gimmick to justify subsidizing private plans that cover abortion.
- Voting NO on the “closed rule” (the rule that abortion proponents want to prevent pro-life amendments).
- Voting YES on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ban government funding of abortions.