Stupak language appears in new bill … sans Stupak

posted at 3:20 pm on May 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The new ObamaCare bill will mandate funding for abortions if Congress ever fails to pass the Hyde Amendment, which has to get a new vote every year during the budget cycle.  Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) had led a coalition of pro-life Democrats in the House last fall that demanded and got an amendment to the bill that would have made the restrictions against federal funding of abortion permanent as part of the new law, but the Senate stripped out the language and Stupak and most of his allies settled instead for a meaningless executive order.  Rep. Joseph Pitts has now offered a new bill that restores the Stupak language to ObamaCare, collecting 57 co-sponsors — but only a few of Stupak’s coalition, and not Stupak himself:

None of the pro-life Democrats who backed the pro-abortion health care bill in the House have signed on a co-sponsors of new legislation to apply the Hyde amendment to it. The new bill, the Protect Life Act, would fix the several different ways in which the measure funds abortions.

When Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the new government-run health care bill, some pro-life Democrats supported it saying pro-life groups and lawmakers were wrong and that the measure did not contain taxpayer funding of abortion.

Obama signed an executive order that supposedly curbed the abortion funding, but pro-life groups say it merely restated the provisions of the bill and could easily be overturned in court and has no legal power to trump the abortion funding provisions. …

Several Democrats have signed on to the measure, led by pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican.

The Democrats co-sponsoring Pitts’ bill are Reps. Travis Childers of Mississippi, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Marshall of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Gene Taylor of Mississippi.

Each of these pro-life members of Congress voted against the final pro-abortion health care bill Obama signed.

None of the pro-life Democrats who backed the measure — such as Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Steve Driehaus of Ohio, or Reps. Allan Mollohan and Nick Rahall of West Virginia — have signed onto the legislation as co-sponsors.

That includes Rep. Bart Stupak, the leader of the coalition of pro-life Democrats who enabled passage of the pro-abortion bill.

The bill in question is HR5111, introduced a little over a week ago. The language that it uses to amend ObamaCare is almost identical to that in Stupak’s amendment. Here it is in its entirety:

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to modify special rules relating to coverage of abortion services under such Act.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. MODIFYING SPECIAL RULES RELATING TO COVERAGE OF ABORTION SERVICES UNDER THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT TO CONFORM TO LONG-STANDING FEDERAL POLICY.

(a) In General- Section 1303 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended by section 10104(c) of such Act, is amended–
(1) by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as subsections (e) and (f), respectively;
(2) by redesignating paragraph (4) of subsection (b) as subsection (d) and transferring such subsection (d) after the subsection (c) inserted by paragraph (4) of this subsection with appropriate indentation;
(3) by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
`(b) Special Rules Relating to Coverage of Abortion Services- Nothing in this Act (or any amendment made by this Act) shall be construed to require any health plan to provide coverage of or access to abortion services or to allow the Secretary or any other Federal or non-Federal person or entity in implementing this Act (or amendment) to require coverage of or access to such services.’;
(4) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:

`(c) Limitation on Abortion Funding-
`(1) IN GENERAL- No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), including credits applied toward qualified health plans under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or cost-sharing reductions under section 1402 of this Act may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
`(2) OPTION TO PURCHASE SEPARATE COVERAGE OR PLAN- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting any non-Federal entity (including an individual or a State or local government) from purchasing separate coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as–
`(A) such coverage or plan is paid for entirely using only funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act; and
`(B) such coverage or plan is not purchased using–
`(i) individual premium payments required for a qualified health plan offered through an Exchange towards which a credit is applied under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
`(ii) other non-Federal funds required to receive a Federal payment, including a State’s or locality’s contribution of Medicaid matching funds.
`(3) OPTION TO OFFER COVERAGE OR PLAN- Nothing in this subsection or section 1311(d)(2)(B)(i) shall restrict any non-Federal health insurance issuer offering a qualified health plan from offering separate coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as–
`(A) premiums for such separate coverage or plan are paid for entirely with funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act;
`(B) administrative costs and all services offered through such coverage or plan are paid for using only premiums collected for such coverage or plan; and
`(C) any such non-Federal health insurance issuer that offers a qualified health plan through an Exchange that includes coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection also offers a qualified health plan through the Exchange that is identical in every respect except that it does not cover abortions for which funding is prohibited under this subsection.’;
(5) in subsection (e), as redesignated by paragraph (1)–
(A) in the heading, strike `Regarding Abortion’;
(B) in the heading of each of paragraphs (1) and (2), strike each place it appears `REGARDING ABORTION’; and
(C) in paragraph (1), insert `conscience protection, abortion, or’ after `State laws regarding’;
(6) in subsection (f), as redesignated by paragraph (1), by striking `Nothing’ and inserting `Subject to subsection (g), nothing’; and
(7) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(g) Nondiscrimination on Abortion-
`(1) NONDISCRIMINATION- A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), may not–
`(A) subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination; or
`(B) require any health plan created or regulated under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) to subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination,
on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
`(2) DEFINITION- In this subsection, the term `healthcare entity’ includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.
`(3) ADMINISTRATION- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this subsection, and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.’.
(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 1334(a)(6) of such Act is amended to read as follows:
`(6) COVERAGE CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL POLICY- In entering into contracts under this subsection, the Director shall ensure that no multi-State qualified health plan offered in an Exchange provides coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under subsection 1303(c) of this Act.’.

Compare that to the language in Stupak’s amendment, and one will see no substantive difference at all. That prompts the question: Why aren’t the so-called “pro-life Democrats” who voted for ObamaCare co-sponsoring this bill? It would restore the language for which they fought last November, and for which they threatened to vote against ObamaCare. It ends the reliance on an executive order of dubious legality and entirely based on the whim of a President who declared his fealty to Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the nation.

Clearly, the term “pro-life Democrat” is mainly an oxymoron, with only a handful of notable exceptions as seen on the co-sponsor list of this bill. Stupak and most of his coalition care less about pro-life principles and more about political kowtowing. Voters in their districts need to find candidates that will support HR5111, and better yet, candidates that won’t lie in the first place about their pro-life principles.


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