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. mike

    I love the nutjobs that think they can get free healthcare because of this bill...obviously some of the stars from Leno's "Jay Walking"

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

    sooo because a religious fundamentalist is voting his religion (separation of church and state) IF I were to be raped and became pregnant from said rape my health care no longer would cover that

    March 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Al in Chesapeake, VA

    Looks like it is time to rally the troops for this November and then again in a couple of
    years, providing we still have a country and vote these "yes" voters out. Where will all the doctors come from to support the increase for those seeking care or visits to the
    doctors office. This bill is even hitting all those that served in the military by taking
    away some Tricare and health care that were promised. What a SHAME....

    March 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chado

    I come from a socialist country with national health care. It sucks from cradle to grave. I hope all the Democrats out there remember today when they can't find an internist in the future or have to wait for a simple X-ray. Trust me, it's coming, Obama care at its best...

    March 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Judith Whitney

    Why are you allowing non-stop free access to anti-abortion spokespeople without balancing it with other viewpoints? The anti-abortion people do not represent the majority of the American people, as hard as they try to make us believe otherwise. They need to be debating this in congress, not on television.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Go President Obama!

    The day when every infant and child has a decent home, is wanted and well cared for in health, wellness & happiness in this country, is the day I will support pro-life HYPOCRITES!

    March 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SG

    Shame on you all! Let's get help for those that don't have health insurance! I am a woman and have the right to choose what and when I want it! Not you or your republican party! See this is why nothing gets done in this country!! You are so concerned about life, than why did you vote with your republican president to choose to go to foreign lands and kill in a war that holds no value! You voted to kill how many years ago and didn't blink twice. Now that our great president wants to get Healthcare reform, your shorts are all in a knot! Listen hear, you have no right to choose for anyone. Maybe you all should be fired from your jobs, reason not doing it very well!!!

    March 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carol

    Thanks President Obama, and thanks Stupek for having everything underlined so you felt safe enough to sign on for this Health Care. I've watched people stand in line at the Pharmacy, some crying because their Insurance Co would not o.k. their RX that the Dr. gave them for their relief. I've watched people walk away with no RX because what they were to pick up for their RX wasn't covered, and they couldn't pay 200.00 for it with no insurance coverage. I hope this scene is over.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. For universal health care

    All civilized and industrialized countries have universal health care. the US was the exeption. Thanks God and the democrats now we´ll be more humane and civilized. Excluding 40 million americans from health care was like having 40 million americans without public education. it was insane. Education and health care should be for all, not just for the rich.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim from NY

    WHAT are the Republicans doing? They are taking turns in front of the camera, extolling the death of abortion funding prohibition, when the clear language and intent says otherwise. Thank God we have the Democrats to move this country forward.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Judith Mendoza

    Nothing will be good enough for Republicans when the Democrats are incharge. When Bush was president what did he do for health care reform, nothing. What exactly do Republicans want, they are never satisfied they use scare tactics.

    Let me give all these Rebuplicans an example of how this health care reform bill help us out: My uncle works long hours as an auto mechanic for the past 25 years his employer took away any type of health care coverage they had. Keep in mind that the health care coverage he had helped out my aunt (his wife) who has arthritis and helped out their four children. They have been paying out of their pockets to see the doctor and for her medicine. Also keep in mind that both of them are supporting four children and earn minimum wage.

    These stories are all around the country and so how can we not have health care reform.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Deena Birenbaum

    The insurance bill can fail because of the radical religious reasons. We are these people speaking out aboout the abuse of ou children from thse people that preach rite to life. Millions will continue to be denied health care and possibly die without medical help while we continue to support unwed mothers frecceiving federal funds, housing, health care and food stamps while our hard working families suffer. Some body has their heads on backwards

    March 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thomas Jefferson

    Had my 11 year old read Animal Farm. Now I can give him a real life example of how tyrannical governments work. 17000 new IRS agents to ensure compliance with the mandatory purchase of health insurance.

    Fortunately, there are people that care about the constitutionality of this disaster. Let the lawsuits begin.

    Silver lining: No cap and trade, no immigration "reform", hopefully no heavy handed bank regulations.

    Downside: Massive new taxes, much more government interference in our lives.

    Go ahead! All the takers will be all over this post. It is we the "givers" that will pay for it.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    The people making the real money are covered with backroom deals. This deal is a blow to Insurance companies. The only element in Health Care with a History and a Reason to hold down costs. I can not wait to see the supporters crying when this turns out even worse than every other social project. It's a modern run at starting a new welfare program. All I can say is, you get what you vote for.

    How many Healthcare jobs will go? Who knows but go they will. Nice way to help the economy.

    As far a presidential order, it can be repealed any time he wants to.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MikeF

    There are only two choices on the abortion issue: Pro Life or Pro Abortion. Calling it choice or anti-choice is misleading. The issue is about abortion. So again, you are either pro life or pro abortion.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
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