Following a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, CNSNews.com asked both House members, “Is it not true that members who voted for the CR, which fully funds implementation of Obamacare, voted to implement a program that funds abortion?”
Rep. Lipinski said, "Well, there's a lot of issues dealt with in there, so we just continue the funding that was in place already, and there's a lot of other things that I would've liked to have done in there. But it just was not a possibility beyond shutting down the government and that simply wasn't going to happen.”
For his response, Rep. Pitts said, "Well, the CR provides funding for the implementation of Obamacare, but what is happening really is violating the law and the Executive Order and the intent of the administration expressed by the president. So they can correct this, and we will continue to ask questions to get them on the record on this.”
Pitts apparently was referencing Executive Order 13535 and the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of any health-care plan that includes coverage of abortion, with exceptions for abortions done in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother. Obama's executive order was meant to prevent taxpayer-funded abortion through the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
At the press conference, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said, “In an 11th hour ploy to garner a remnant of pro-life Democrats absolutely needed for passage of Obamacare, the president issued an executive order on March 24, 2010 and it said: ‘the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges’.'"
“It turns out that those promises made both on the floor of the House and in the president's Executive Order are absolutely untrue,” said Smith.
Representative Smith, other members of Congress, and representatives of pro-life groups were gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday in response to the GAO report (released on Sept. 15) to call on the U.S. Senate to pass H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Smith and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
“The GAO report demonstrates what we all have known for years now: the Affordable Care Act lacks controls to shield taxpayers from paying for abortion,” Pitts told attendees.
“I did not believe that it was any more than an accounting gimmick to have two separate funds to make sure that taxpayer funds would not be spent on abortion, but we were promised at least two separate funds,” Lipinski, who is Democratic co-chair of the pro-life caucus said. “GAO has shown even this fig leaf has not been implemented.”
“We were also told that on every exchange there’d be at least one health care plan that did not cover abortion,” he said. “Now I know buying my insurance plan on the exchange it was almost impossible to find out if a plan covered abortion or not.”
“The law has not been followed,” said Lipinski. “First of all, I’m calling on the administration to follow the law, but better yet that the Senate step up and pass H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”