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. DennisH

    This executive order will be rescinded within OBAMA's 1st term or be a campaign promise to liberals in the next election cycle. America will have government payment for all abortions within five years. For or against abortion it makes no difference now.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ignorance is bliss

    I don't believe that men should have any choice when it comes to a woman's CHOICE as to what to do with her body. have you ever noticed that the "pro" lifers are usually men? Do you really believe that a crackhead woman should give birth to a cocaine addicted baby who may have a lifetime of health and mental disabilities because of this is a better option than a humane abortion before that life is even born? People need to wake up and quit trying to push there own personal and political choices on those that do not believe the same! Shame on President Obama for bribing these men at the cost of all American women.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Claire M.

    It's a sad day for women and anyone who thought voting for Obama would end the goose step toward dictatorship. He and Bush could be twins except for ethnicity. It's all about a bully in the school yard telling everyone else how to play. This action continues to force other people's beliefs down our throats. Of course, even if abortion is made illegal, it'll still be around, but just unsafe and back in the black market - the real reason it was legalized in the first place. Idiots.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Eric

    All who are for this bill, I guess it does not matter now.... You all have drank this koolaid for far to long. Right in front of our faces this undercover terrorist continues to tear our country apart. HOW IS THIS OK WITH EVERYONE????? No one thinks for a moment that he is a mole? I did not serve 3 times in Iraq to come back to this CRAP!

    March 22, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Johnathan

    @Vic Verola, by way of a quote: "These are not objective opinions, they are fact supported by years of history. "

    I am utterly convinced by your assertion; those are not objective opinions by any stretch of the imagination. I'm glad that you at least took a moment to make one honest claim; it was a refreshing change of pace from the rest of your prattling diatribe.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. slambo8

    Benjamin Franklin said that the US Constitution would be the second greatest text ever written behind the Scriptures – but that ultimately it would fail because of the the corruptness of the people (today we call them politicians) and when the people become totally corrupt they would turn to despots because only despots can govern the corrupt. Despot is just an ugly word that describes someone who will not listen to others. He used this argument to get term limits into the constitution. Tell me, is Atlanta, Tallahassee, Washington D.C. ect, corrupt now? Who did George Bush listen to, who is Obama listening to? Vote against incumbency – these politicians – both republican and democrat do not believe you will vote them out of office........they are up there for one thing spend your money somehow in hopes that they will benefit........Vote against incumbency...........The folks we send back up there may not me any more morally fit than the one we replaced ...but at least they will fear the vote.....and the vote is all we have..Lets take this country back one seat at a time ....Vote against incumbency....

    March 22, 2010 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. KASH

    Finally, the President has prevailed, and he has lived up to his commitment to "Reform the Health Care". The Bill could have been better, if Republicans had thought about serving the people instead of only themselves and the big insurance companies. Republicans have used every possible menas to misrepresent this bill to the public.

    This Bill will form a basis for future improvements in the Health Care of Americans. It is a shame that Republicans want to destroy this achievement for the country, if elected as a majority party.

    I am a Regan Republican and Clinton Democrat. I challenge Americans not to allow Republicans to come in POWER if their Agenda is to destroy the greatest Achievement for all Americans in a century. I am a proud American, where there is a Govenment for the people and by the pepole.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thoroughbred

    The National Organization of Women isn't; and it lost all credibility years ago when it failed to reign in its darling in the White House; himself a male chauvinist pig. Nevertheless, this criticism should not be construed as a lack thereof for Republican abortion foes who said Obama's proposed order was insufficient, and when Bart Stupak sought to counter them, a shout of "baby killer" was heard coming from the Republican side of the chamber.

    The National Right to Life Committee also quickly issued a scathing statement disputing Stupak's claim.

    "The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing," the group said. "It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill."

    Horseradish on their snouts: they do not know how to separate their criticism of the health bill itself and its supposed abortion provisions and in doing so all are idiots.

    We have the most significant piece of legislation in more than four decades. Personally, it doesn't mean a hoot to me but it's high time that basic health care in this country be seen as the privilege it is rather than the big business privilege the right wing contend it's been since the beginning.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Haha I love the ignorant name calling. "undercover terrorists". But anyways, this is definitely some political bull jive. People thought he was all pro choice, now women will be pissed that they do not get gov funding for abortions. But who knows he could easily change this executive order like many commenters have stated. Guess he had to do what it took to get a few extra votes from pro choice Dems and maybe try to win at least one Republican but that did not happen.

    And i do think health care was a big issue, and it might even be selfish for me to to talk about other issues. But what about jobs, immigration, etc. I feel like the critical thing right now s gas prices near 3 buck, and no jobs to pay for those prices. Or college kids graduated with no jobs to pay off those loans. I am a democrat and i feel strongly about immigration. Its just common sense and law, we cannot have people who do not belong. Plain and simple. People can argue back and forth about the true damage they do, but whatever it is, they are not allowed and we need to fix it. Like i said, i don't know the magnitude of the damage but, its obvious. its like out sourcing jobs. Manual labor for example, these employers get away with paying these illegals low wages, but they wont get away with low balling american citizens.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    I support reproductive rights for women but I fully understand that a significant percentage of our population does not. Many have deep feelings that abortion is murder. I may disagree, but I certainly respect that view. Not using federal tax dollars for abortions is a no-brainer.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe Postove

    I woke this morning to find that the Death Bill had passed.

    Now that I think of it, I am so damned depressed, they better bring some on just for me!

    This is perhaps the worst day, in the life of my country, in my life. The ship of the free state is sailing away. And I fear we it is gone forever.

    What shall we be? American...or free?.


    March 22, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Keller

    The human race has already overpopulated the Earth way beyond what is naturally possible, and everyone ignores it, social programs give to those that would naturally not prosper. In the natural world those that work for it are the ones that get it, and that is the way it should be.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Federalist45

    Pure power grab by the Radical Left. Taxpayers will be buying 1M abortions per year by 2014. Radical Left will pass Amnesty for the criminal-illegals among us to secure their power. the Radical Left will "steal" the census with typical brownshirt thuggery. Obama and his Leninist cronies will have successfully destroyed the Constitution of the United States and instituted a fully-Authoritarian Marxist regime by the time he leaves office in 2017. And all The People had to do was read RULES FOR RADICALS in 2008 and apply a bit of common sense and good judgment at the polling booth. Shame on Obama, Reid, Pelosi and their Radical Left cabal. And shame on The People for giving them the leash to work their evil alchemy.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Don G

    Thank you lord ,good finaly won out against evil.
    Millions of people will now sleep at night with the assurance that at least there health will be looked after.
    Baby's born with so called pre conditions will now be able to go thru life without the worry of being denied health care.
    Thousands of people who die who don't have health innsurance will now have a chance to survive.
    These people of course are living or post birth people.
    How can Right wing so called religious zealots and these (Tea baggers) actually sit in a church without vommiting on there own shoes.
    Pro Life people lost NOTHING ,they just didn't get any more than they had.
    To have stopped all the other good from happening for your further cause would have been EVIL in my mind.
    God Bless all the people with hearts.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Redfox

    As an observer from outside America i.e. Australia, we are perplexed by the angst this bill is causing. We like most developed countries have universal health cover and while our system isn’t perfect everyone who needs treatment can get it for free or a reasonable cost. We also have a strong private i.e. non government run system, that people who can afford it can pay more to have access too. In fact those who earn more are subsidised to take out private health insurance to take the burden off the government provided public sector. How any country can have over 30 million people not covered by health services and call itself the greatest nation on earth doesn’t make sense to us.
    The bill you have is probably not the best you could have gotten but under the apparent constraints of your political system it is a good start. Maybe it is time to move on to bigger issues such as unemployment (almost twice that of Australia) or making America innovative and competitive again. Good luck.

    March 22, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
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