Pro-life groups urge Congress not to fund abortions in short-term Obamacare fix. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA, pledged to make sure pro-life protections are added to the bill moving forward.
A bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington offers a bipartisan attempt to fix Obamacare by allowing states to offer cheaper, but limited health care plans while also reinstating federal payments to insurers. Pro-life groups have come out against the bill, saying it lacks Hyde Amendment protections and provides abortion funding at taxpayers’ expense.
“We do not believe abortion is health care and therefore support the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life provisions barring federal subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage,” David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We have serious concerns that the Senate Alexander/Murray bill would violate these principles, and will oppose such a bill unless it ensures that cost-sharing payments do not subsidize Obamacare plans with elective abortion.”
The issue with the Alexander-Murray bill, according to pro-life organizations, is that it allows federal funding to pay for abortions. The 1976 Hyde Amendment prevents Medicaid funding from paying for abortions unless the pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk or the child was conceived out of incest or rape. If the Alexander-Murray bill doesn’t explicitly add those protections, then federal funds could pay for abortions, Christopher Jacobs, founder and CEO of Juniper Research Group, wrote Wednesday in an op-ed in The Federalist.
About $25-30 billion will go to subsidize abortions, according to Jacobs’ analysis of the bill.
Another co-sponsor, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, said she would work to make sure Hyde Amendment protections are added to the bill moving forward.
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