House Votes for Health Care Reform without Abortion Funding Ban

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Sunday evening to pass the Senate version of Health Care Reform legislation after the President agreed to sign an Executive Order dealing with abortion funding. 

We are disappointed with the outcome of Sunday's vote on health care and agree with the National Right to Life Committee and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that the executive order does not provide sufficient protection on the issue of abortion. We urge all those committed to furthering the culture of life to focus on supporting the Hyde Amendment and encouraging those of our elected officials who have defended life in the past to continue to do so.

A National Right to Life Committee analysis concludes that “The order does not truly correct any of the seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops takes the same view, finding that “there is compelling evidence that it [the health care reform bill] would expand the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion.”  The bishops’ statement goes on to say that “We and many others will follow the government’s implementation of health care reform and will work to ensure that Congress and the administration live up to the claims that have contributed to its passage. We believe, finally, that new legislation to address its deficiencies will almost certainly be required.”

Thanks to all members of the Knights of Columbus who called and e-mailed their representatives to ask them to apply the Hyde Amendment ban on federal funding for abortions to the health care reform bill. 

It is very important to bear in mind that the Hyde Amendment itself, which must be renewed every year, remains an extremely important legislative goal because it prohibits abortion funding through health programs operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, such as Medicaid.  We must be prepared to make sure that restriction remains in place so that direct federal funding of abortion will continue to be prohibited.