March 21st, 2010
04:07 PM ET

Text: White House on abortion-related executive order

The White House released a statement Sunday afternoon which included the text of an executive order related to the funding of abortion in the health care bill. You can read the full text of the statement and the executive order below.


Today, the President announced that he will be issuing an executive order after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion.

While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented.

The President has said from the start that this health insurance reform should not be the forum to upset longstanding precedent. The health care legislation and this executive order are consistent with this principle.

The President is grateful for the tireless efforts of leaders on both sides of this issue to craft a consensus approach that allows the bill to move forward.

A text of the pending executive order follows:

Executive Order

– – – – – – –

ensuring enforcement and implementation of abortion restrictions in the patient protection and affordable care act

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March ­­__, 2010), I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy.

Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.

The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.

I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act’s segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.

Section 3. Community Health Center Program.

The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.

Section 4. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.


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soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. truthseeker24

    NOTICE – Continue restrictions... not "Won't fund, period".... but restrict.

    "the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion."

    WAKE UP PEOPLE. It's happening in front of us.
    "By any means necessary. Whether they know it's good for them or not!"

    March 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andy

    While I'm happy that a bill has passed I wish everyone would stop calling this health care reform. This is health insurance reform.

    It's a starting point, but the probability remains that health costs will continue to rise.

    There still needs to be much work done to reform how care is reimbursed and eliminate the reasons why defensive medicine is practiced causing billions in excessive costs each year.

    Not an easy task to reform, but those are two of the main ways to actually reduce costs.

    March 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Veteran of our country

    We all look a health care different and no one has truly defined what this bill means unless you have read the 2000 pages. I know I have served this country for over twenty years and never once have I herd the outrage that I am hearing now over this. I believe it is a personal issue that needs to be addressed because this is a country that lives through the freedom of the sacrifice of others.

    So for me I believe that the politicians have comprimised themselves for thier own belief and forgotten the American people. I have heard many talk about what is good but I have never heard one say that they would give up for the good. So what are we voting for because it seems like our voice is never heard.

    When President Obama ran he ran for a change and today we do have a change but with change we find that there are differences but if we look at our past we must find that we all have to over come our own ignorance. I have seen death and pain first hand serving this country so believe me I know what it means by say lets be American instead of Idealist.


    March 21, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DIsgruntled

    What's interesting to me is to see the folks who are applauding this bill compare it to Medicare and Social Security, both of which are going bankrupt. Social Security will be lucky to last 20 more years, which I've been paying into my whole working life and will never see the benefits of by the time I retire. How can the government keep costs down? Are they an effective business model?? Is there any competition to keep prices down?? How will they pay salaries and keep up with operating costs?? The same way they do with the military or any other program- raise taxes, or cut other programs. I agree healthcare needs overhaul but this is so over the top I don't even know where to start. How about a bankrupt country digging itself further and further? Make no mistake this country is based on capitalism and when the money runs out...not hard to figure out. We just sharpened our decent downward....Thanks dems! By the time we really feel the effects of this bill all these clowns will be long gone....

    March 21, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dean

    It won't be long before we have a civil war. It seems that electing officials to speak for the people no longer works. It's time to take back our freedoms!!

    March 22, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Audras the Patriot

    Has anyone thought about the fact that HMOs were the catalyst for ballooning healthcare costs? Seriously, do your research on that and tell me what you find. It may surprise you. It may also surprise you that before HMOs, healthcare costs as a percentage of income were lower. Do your research and see what you find. It will be interesting to see.

    My point is that government started this whole problem. You are all squabbling about manifestations of a problem, but no one is even thinking about the root. Think a little more deeply. That's all I'm saying. The system is broken, but neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would have effected any serious change to this system without making it far worse for someone else. Without government in this problemae sanitatis maelstrom, we would probably see costs fall dramatically and I almost guarantee that the poor (as I, a poor 20 year old guy) would have the ability to go to the doctor and get what they needed when they needed it. Pro bono sounds good to me.

    Audras the Patriot

    March 22, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jungle King

    President Obama is God! What a genius! Just when nobody thought he could get this done, he was brilliant in outthinking the republicans. Now what can they do other than complain! Tea Party Republicans remain pissed off, but even they don't know why! This is a victory for America!!!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alexa

    Not in favor of Obama- care, but I'm glad for this anti-abortion order!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. BobfromCA

    Even as a Pro-Choicer, I agree with Obama's abortion executive order. Abortion is an elective procedure, and should not be covered except for reasons stated. Just like a nose job should not be covered unless it is a necessary medical procedure.

    Bill may be flawed but is a step in the right direction. Shame on Republicans for not participating. Not even one... sad when elected representatives (either party) vote party line and not what is best for the people.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. the people

    Number 31
    Your math may be the reason you think this is a good deal
    add a 0 to the end of your numbers
    in other words multiply by 10 and you get the numbers you where looking for.
    Start to look at why ins companies are making record profits and still raising premiuns and you will find the real answer to the problem, and this bill will do nothing to stop that problem it will only multiply it 10 fold.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marc

    Here is the line which pertains to abortion:

    it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment.

    I am pro choice however I ask this question, why should federal funds, except as stated above be used for people who just merely don't want a child? I"m just asking.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. FEDUP

    "Our" government is now calling people who love the Constitution, Terrorists( The last time I looked our Constitution was the law of the land ). "Our" government will now require everyone to buy into this. "Our" government will fine or place "US" in jail if we do not give them the money. "Our " government will collect money for 4 years BEFORE this goes into effect. "Our" government has just passed a bill that is beyond the scope allowed by our founding documents.

    We are NOT a Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. Benjamin Franklin said so himself. If you doubt this, you need to do some studying. Our Great-Great Grandfathers are all turning over in their graves.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Thomas Paine

    Upset? Keep playing the red -vs- blue game and its never going to change. Focus that anger and frustration on the root, not the result.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. DennisH

    An executive order on payment for abortion is a victory for womens groups. This executive order will be recended with OBAMA

    March 22, 2010 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tammy

    I am a nurse in the county of Los Angeles. I can tell you because I have seen it first hand that this country will go under because of this new law. First of all, there are more people insured in this state then not. In this state you don't have to work because everything is provided to you, hense why it is the capital of illegals in this country. When a person or illegal comes to the emergency room and states they have no job, they automatically become medi-cal eligible and are enrolled in it. If a woman has kids she is automatically eligible for medi-cal and enrolled. If a woman is pregnant she automatically becomes eligible and is enrolled. Everyday I see healthy normal acting people in their 20's and 30's coming to the ER who are on social security disability with medi-cal or medicare. These are the issues we need to fix not giving people more free insurance. These are the people who drain the system never being held accountable that we need to fix. How do the illegals keep getting social security numbers? There's no system in place to track them and that's another problem that needs to be fixed. This health care bill is not the solution. In November I plan on voting everyone of those who voted for it out of office.....there will be NO second term for Obama.......And everyone thinks Bush was bad. Watch Obama the antichrist and what he does to you!

    March 22, 2010 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
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