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.

STATEMENT FROM COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR DAN PFEIFFER

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.

THE WHITE HOUSE,

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Filed under: Health Care
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. jim_julian

    This EO is just a fig leaf for Democrats to hide behind when they face the voters.

    March 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. S Callahan

    I'm satisfied!

    March 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dale Hernden

    We know full well that the pro abortion Obama administration will either rescind this order or ignore it. We know they will say or do anything to get healthcare passed.

    March 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dan

    be nice to know exacty where and on whom my hard earned dollars (that were taken from me under threat of imprisonment) are actually going!

    March 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David

    You've heard of "lipstick on a pig" or a "Trojan Horse" ... both come to mind when I read this. Rather than doing a patch job, the bill should be fixed so that the protection of life is written in the law not in a temporary executive order! This is a shrewd move by Obama and the democratic leadership to give up the battle so that they win the war.

    March 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Anthony Castro

    Healthcare Reform is the backdoor to abolishing Abortions. CHRISTIANS, this is the one and only way to abolish abortion. The Republican Party and Republican-packed Supreme Court have done nothing. Finally the Democratic Party demonstrates its values!

    March 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SKR

    All 3 parts of Section 4 can negate the rest of the "order". Who knew the White House could sign an EO? What the president giveth, the president can taketh away, and Obama will strike that as soon as it's no longer useful.

    March 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jerome Wilson

    President Obama insisted during his speeches during the last 3 months that there is no abortion bill in the cureent Health Care Reform Bill.

    If that was true then why did he issue an exective order prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion. Another lie he made,

    March 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. William Ward

    Dear Mr Stupak,
    In your news conference stating your intent to vote on health care. You were sadly mistaken. The winner is not the American people because in the long run it will destroy us.

    The health care problem is the delivery cost not insurance premiums that is the symptom. Why when I call a hospital as an uninsured patient and ask for the cost of a service can't they give it to me? Because if I have medicare,(which doesn't pay for 4 years in Maine)the price differs from a cash client.

    Don't be fooled by Obama, this will never solve the program. It will not help your people, it will make people like them pay higher taxes. The issue will never be solved until a day comes when my 80 year old mom doesn't have to pay $9800.00 for 3 days in hospital. Cost of delivery is the problem, NOT cost of premiums, that is a symptom.

    I want something done about health care but not to destroy the country fighting a symptom. Regulate costs, help fund drug research, help doctors with their $430,000.00 student loans, help subsidize hospital infrastructure. These things help fix the problem.Not national insurance which never addresses costs.

    Thanks for your attention I'm sure you are well intentioned and the pressure is incredible. BUT please for the love of all that is holy kill this bill and start a new conversation about fixing the problem.
    Bill Ward

    March 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. William Ward

    Is an executive orded able to suplement a house bill? No one votes on an executive order. I'm a bit confused on the legality and strength of this issue. An executive order can be done for items the executive branch has control over not act as part of a bill. At least that is what I was always led to believe. If it were that easy why have congress just write a bunch of orders.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Garcia

    Here is the loophole, indirect public funding of abortions. For example, give Acorn or their subsidiaries a public money grant, they in turn provide a grant to Planned Parenthood or other abortion agencies.

    Look at the language, it is clear. Don't forget, Obama and Rhom always have an angle. They are driven to pass this bill, lieing counts.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. William Ward

    What about that part of the executive orders where Obama is dictating to state insurance commissioners. He's not their boss!!!!

    March 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karen

    I suppose a quarter of a loaf is better than starvation but I don't think any restriction on choice is the proper way to go. At least women will be allowed to purchase the kind of policy that permits them to buy coverage separately.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bryan Hupperts

    The droll irony is that many Democrats who voted for the trators in Congress literally will pay for their supor tiwth theuir lives once they can't get proper medical care in this brave new world.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    WOW i cant believe the comments of you people. You conservatives are willing to die at the hands of insurance companies if it means Obama failing.. You are standing up for Insurance companies that care nothing for you whatsoever and make more money when you die and yet you say Obama and the democrats want to destroy this nation.

    You guys are delusional and weak minded. in 10 or 20 years when one of you gets cancer and are able to get the care you need because a insurance company cant drop you once you get sick, you will be looking back and thanking this president and congress.

    I mean my god, Conservatives oppose fighting climate change and they oppose healthcare reform. I have to ask.. dont you conservatives actually want to live also? I mean seriously

    March 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
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