Friday, April 30, 2010

U.S. Bill Would Amend Health Care to Exclude Abortion Funding

- Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) has introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to apply the Hyde amendment to the recently passed health care law.

Rep. Pitts' bill would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prevent federal funding for abortion or abortion coverage through government exchanges, community health centers, or any other program funded or created by PPACA. Additionally, the bill protects the right of conscience for health care professionals and ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion.

H.R. 5111, the Protect Life Act, has 57 Republican and Democrat co-sponsors, and reflects the bill-wide ban of federal abortion funding once spearheaded by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), but that was not included in the final version of the health bill.

Stupak and a group of Democrats, after initially vowing to vote down the abortion-expanding law, were persuaded by the Obama administration hours before the final vote to support it in exchange for an executive order that purported to apply the Hyde amendment to the legislation. Various analysts have concluded, and the White House has since admitted, however, that the order merely reiterates what is already stated in the bill.