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. rk

    Tired of the Christian right trying to inject their agenda into everything. Abortion is legal. If you don't like it, don't have one. If you don't want your tax dollars to pay for it, they won't! You are luckier than me. My tax dollars are used for all kinds of things I don't like

    March 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tristan

    We are approaching 7 billion people on our dying planet and people are arguing about abortion? We need to address the real problem, stupidity.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr. C. L. O'Rourke

    Dear Representative Stupak – I have been praying for you and asking St. Thomas More to pray for you at this critical time. WE have needed a "man for all seasons."
    I have prayed hat you would have the courage to stand strong and not to give in- at all- to any deals.

    I am still praying, but it looks as if you have not stayed strong. I hope that I am wrong. The American people needed you.....

    Dr. C. L. O'Rourke, Ed.D.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Soleprop

    We will see. I do NOT trust the guy at the helm of the nation right now. For more than a year, there have been speeches, speeches and more speeches. But no action, transparency or accountability.

    Memo to Congress and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue re forthcoming elections:

    You are fired.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. keli

    Does anyone in their right mind believe a single word that passes BO's lips?????

    March 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian K

    If you love unwanted, unborn or genetically defective children so much – then adopt them. You can legally and financially force people to have children, but that won't somehow make them good parents, or the children viable offspring in the natural sense.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    Great. Stupak's religious views trumps any others. Awesome. Teaparty Republicans are calling civil rights leaders the N-word and spitting on them. Awesomer.

    I didnt vote for any of this.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. phillip Marlowe

    Stupak is Stu-Pid. For a moment I thought there was hope to save America from Fuhrer Obama, but you sold your country down the drain and I for one will devote all my energies to seeing your defeacted in your next cycle. You are pathetic.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gail

    Such great news. Thanks, Barack and all the intelligent and progressive legislators.
    May this be only the beginning of getting rid of insurance company and corporate greed.

    May Bart Stupak and those who are Democrats in name only be defeated in thier next elections.

    Thank you, Presieent Obama. I just love you!

    March 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    Whoever supports this bill has no idea about American History. The Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves. The question shouldn't be how the Federal Government should reform health but who gives them the power to reform health care. The constitution doesn't give them the power. Health reform was never reformed in the past because the federal government deosn't have the power to reform it and the people knew it. Fast forward to today with dumbed down Americans that don't know the Constitution and we now have health care reform. GOD HELP US!!!!!!!

    March 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jane Thompson

    Well done, America! You will not regret the passing of the Health Care Act: it is long, long overdue.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Christy

    Don't worry my pro choice friends, women will still have the right to choose, it's just not funded under this bill, but don't worry my anti women friends women will always have the right to choose in this country. Just keep your religion off of my ovaries and we will get along. Remember everyone, we still have rights to choose! The hyde was not passed!

    March 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IU_29

    If the plan is sooooooo good how come the legislators are exempt? The train to socialism.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pro Isreal

    I think I'll move to Canada.....or even Mexico....anywhere but live under these insane conditions

    March 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Isn't it amazing how many different ways someone with a bias can find bad in everything that is not theirs. The Republican administration had 8 years to do something about the problem but made no progress. Sure, the current bill is not perfect, but it can (and will) be amended over time. But it is a start. That is how things work in our country. It will be interesting how the opposition will spin the bill's contents in order to try to manage the perception of the American public.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
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