Paging Bart Stupak. On March 24, 2010, he and other congresspersons calling themselves pro-life Democrats smiled for the camera as they watched President Obama sign an executive order no one but them believed would keep abortion out of Obamacare. (Stupak is in the photo above off of Obama’s right shoulder, wearing a grey suit. Click to enlarge.)
Besides the inobvious expansion of abortion in Obamcare – a mandate that forces insurance companies and employers to cover contraceptives and morning-to-days-after contraceptives, both of which can cause early abortions – there is the obvious, as explained in National Review Online, September 25:
An analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute published this week suggests that the number of abortions that will be heavily subsidized via federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion is likely to be between 71,000 and 111,500 per year. This approaches one in ten abortions performed in the United States.
The number is split roughly 50-50 between abortions subsidized by the ASPs [abortion-covering state plans] in states that have not barred them from their exchanges and abortions newly reimbursable under Medicaid expansion in states that use their own taxpayer funds to underwrite them.
The obvious was followed by an in-your-face this past Monday, when the Office of Personnel Management ruled that “members of Congress and their staffs will be able to buy health care plans that pay for abortions, even though the premiums are funded largely by taxpayer money – a move that conservatives say breaks federal law on abortion funding,” according to the Washington Times.
A pro-life friend on the Hill explained in an email how this rule violates the law:
The final rule indicates that OPM does not intend to comply with the pro-life Smith amendment as it administers health insurance benefits for this group of federal employees.
As you may recall, 84 Members of Congress sent a letter to OPM Acting Director Elaine Kaplan earlier this month. The letter pointed out that the Smith amendment (first offered in 1983 by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ) is annually attached to the Financial Services Appropriations bill and governs activities by OPM employees. Specifically the Smith amendment states that no funds may be used to “pay for an abortion, or the administrative expenses in connection with any health plan under the Federal employees health benefits program which provides any benefits or coverage for abortions.”
The Member letter specifies that collecting and disburses premiums for health plans that include elective abortion are administrative activities and would constitute a clear violation of the Smith amendment. While all insurance plans for Federal employees under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program exclude elective abortion, the ACA deviated from this longstanding policy and explicitly allowed plans on the new health care exchanges to include coverage for all abortion.
In the final rule OPM specifies that despite the Smith amendment they will carry out administrative tasks in conjunction with health plans that include elective abortion. They justify such action by saying that OPM does not “administer the terms of the health benefits plans offered on an Exchange.” Even though the Smith amendment is in no way limited to administration of the “terms” of a plan, OPM appears to be arbitrarily narrowing the Smith amendment without Congressional approval.
Also paging former Congressman Steve Driehaus, who sued Susan B. Anthony List for defamation after his loss in 2010 to pro-life Republican Steve Chabot, claiming this sign was fraudulent. Click to enlarge…
Driehaus is in the top photo on the far right, smiling broadly. He lost his case in federal district court in January 2013, but the sore loser quickly filed an appeal, which has still not been decided. (Meanwhile SBA List has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the Ohio “false statement” law which provided the gateway for Driehaus’s lawsuit. SBA List expects SCOTUS to make its decision by early November.)