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. DallasRMF

    What do we expect from an amoral president but to continue to lead this country into sin... to cram the killing of the innocent down my throat. May God have mercy on this lying immoral government. I hate what you have done to us Obama. Psalm 109:8 is my prayer for you.

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

    Bart Stupak and other legislators should be commended for their courage and readiness to see the larger picture, reaffirm established law (Hyde Amendment) and join their fellow legislators in taking a stand for what they correctly termed a "whole life" legislation.

    Thank you Bart Stupak, et al. Thank you Democrats for not buying the fake negotiations of Republicans. Thank you for standing with the millions of uninsured Americans and mothers who need maternal and regular medical care. Thank you.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Forsythe

    Just remember that this health bill that you are so in favor of is so good that the DEMOCRATS have by vote exempted themselves from it!!! They want YOU to be subject to it but not THEM!!!

    March 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Well said – William Ward.
    This bill does not address health care costs at all.
    In fact, by requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and eliminating annual and lifetime caps, this will increase the insurance cost. Plus, we'll pay higher taxes to pay for it.
    Where is Tort Reform? Why do the Democrats keep supporting the Trial Lawyer lobby? Where is cross-state line insurance to increase competition? Where is anything in the bill to reduce Hospital costs? This bill is a sham.

    This executive order should be part of the bill. This is just a band aid to pass this terrible bill now and fix it later. If it is so monumental, why not fix it first?

    What was Obama's first Executive order? He rescinded the Mexico City policy, thereby allowing Federal Funds for abortion. And, he rescinded Bush's restrictions on fetal stem cell research, allowing abortions for research. Now, when he needs the votes, Obama speaks out of the other side of his mouth banning Federal Funds for abortion.

    He may be educated, but he has no principles. Typical Chicago politician doing anything to get the votes.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gabriel Pulido

    If Mr Obama from day 1 of his term had respected life at all stages of live, health care had been approved months ago. The majority of people rejects a billionaire debt against the future of next generations. If reps want to be reelected, they need to truly listen and obey their constituents.

    March 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Susan

    As a pro-life Christian I am very happy about the executive order issued by President Obama. To think that President Obama would change this after the health care bill is signed is ridiculous. I am proud that Democrats are the ones who made sure the Hyde admentment was followed and that Hospitals and health care workers are not
    discriminated against who refused to do abortions. As a pro-lifer I believe health care for all is a life issue. Everyone should have health care.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Charles

    Executive Orders aren't enforceable. Might as well be a campaign slogan and toilet paper.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Miami Mario

    Lets get this vote over with. It is amazing how the Republicans are whining about their "ideas" being ignored. Where were they for the last eight years when they controlled congress and they spent money on everything except health care reform (they never met a war that they didn't like)?

    March 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ron in Palm Springs

    I guess Joe Wison was right when he said "you Lie". . .

    March 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Concerned

    Just horrible! To address specific points made in this thread: "infant mortality" in other countries is calculated differently-for example, many premature infants born here that die and therefore count as "infant mortality" are not counted as live births in many countries, thus skewing the data dramatically. Also, just because you have the health of infants in mind, does NOT mean that you should necessarily support this legislation. That's a false dilemma, one that the Dems have fostered, that this is the ONLY kind of health care reform. There could have been many different ways of doing this.

    Regarding health insurance premiums, your $1100 is going to go UP! This is something even Obama HIMSELF admitted in the Health Care Summit. While he reprimanded Lamar Alexander when Mr. A opened with this contention by saying "Get your facts straight," he was handed a note later that indicated that the increase in private health insurance premiums WAS indeed part of the GAO report, and addressed it by saying, "Well, they'll get BETTER healthcare" "Better" or not is open to debate, but "Better" still doesn't contradict the fact that it's going to be more EXPENSIVE! If the govt mandated that everyone bought a Mercedes, then certainly everyone would have a "better" care, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still going to COST more. If that $1100 was hurting before, just get set for some REAL sticker shock!

    March 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Oscar Z. Acosta

    While I applaud anyone going through as much effort as this to maintain the status quo, mightn't an unintended side effect be a dramatic increase in the claim of rape to secure a covered procedure?

    March 21, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rgalliso

    It's not about insurance! It is about overall cost. Anyone wonder why healthcare cost so much? Why insurance costs so much? Lawsuits. American people who are sue happy the moment they sneeze after a doctor fixes their ingrown toenail. Americans sue for malpractice. This causes doctors to have to carry higher malpractice insurance. In order for your doctor to AFFORD his or her insurance they have to raise their fees. When they raise their fees, your insurance companies have to raise your premiums in orde for YOU to afford the doctor's fees. Wonder why insurance companies cancel policies for major illnesses. Maybe its because someone might sue a doctor or two if someone dies.

    STOP SUING YOUR DOCTOR... then the cost of healthcare will go down. American people look for the opportunity to sue like winning the lottery. That's placing monetary value on life.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve Pounds

    All of you Obama haters, should realize that if it was not for Medicare passed by LBJ. You would probably be broke paying for health care for for your parents or grandparents.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LZC

    Stupak wants right for the unborn....apparently thee already born are not worth keeping alive. BTW as of right now abortion is legal and since no one is breaking the law it has to be covered.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. C

    'Cause, heaven knows, none of us ever have to pay taxes so that federal funds can be used on things we disagree with.

    Anti-choicers, may I ask - what makes you so special? My tax money gets used for lots of things I disagree with, but throwing a temper tantrum isn't the appropriate way to deal with that. I put on my big girl panties and deal with it. Maybe y'all should give that a shot while you're exercising all that Christian compassion over there.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
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