Why the “Hyde Amendment” Will Not Prevent Abortion Funding Under HR 3200

National Right to LifeRecently president Obama is on record as saying that the current health care reform legislation would be prevented from covering abortions under the Hyde Amendment. Meanwhile, Time Magazine, FactCheck.org and the Associated Press all confirm that abortions will be covered. So what do they know that the president apparently doesn’t?

In a memo released this week National Right to Life gives an in depth explanation for why the Hyde Amendment will not prevent government funding of abortion under H.R. 3200:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many members of Congress, and the President, have suggested that the Hyde Amendment will prevent federal government funding of abortion under H.R. 3200. This claim is entirely erroneous. Under H.R. 3200, the new federal insurance program (the “public option”) will pay for elective abortion with federal government funds, and public funds will also directly subsidize private insurance plans that cover all abortions. However, as review of the bill language clearly demonstrates, and as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has confirmed in two recent memoranda cited and linked below, neither program requires any future appropriations through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

Since the Hyde Amendment applies only to funds appropriated through the annual HHS appropriations bill, the Hyde Amendment will not apply to any of the funds used to establish or operate either the “public option” or the premium-subsidy program created by H.R. 3200. Members of Congress who assert that the Hyde Amendment would prevent federal government funding of abortions under H.R. 3200 are misleading their constituents, in some cases perhaps inadvertently and in other cases perhaps by design.

It has been well established elsewhere that H.R. 3200, particularly as revised by the “Capps Amendment” (or Capps-Waxman Amendment) that was adopted in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30, 2009, would (1) authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to pay for elective abortions under the “public plan,” and (2) allow the “affordability credits” to subsidize both the public plan and private insurance plans that cover all abortions. See, for example, the August 21, 2009 FactCheck.org analysis “Abortion: Which Side is Fabricating,” and the August 13, 2009 NRLC factsheet “What Do the ‘Health Care Reform’ Bills Backed by President Obama Have to Do With Abortion?” The sole purpose of this memorandum is to correct the erroneous assertions that the Hyde Amendment would somehow prevent those results.


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