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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soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. RLA

    The polarization of Americans will escalate should this bill pass. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama have created a distressed nation that is appalled at their methods and games. The majority of people...some Democrats, most Rebulicans and the majority of Independents don't want this plan, what it means in terms of larger government and the cost. It reeks of coming increased bureacracy, higher taxes (and any tax on any business or insurance company WILL be passed on to Joe Citizen (me). Those who love entitlements and having others pay for those who choose to ride the system will rejoice. The only thing the rest of us can do is look to November, casting out those who were part of this debacle, then retaking the America that our founding fathers envision.

    Gloat Nancy, tell us that this is what we the people wanted but know that not many of us do much more than laugh at your nonsense. Come on November. Let's send them home for good and open the door for balanced people who hear and listen to the people they represent.

    Time to clean house in DC.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tj

    Great job Mr. President finaly we will get health care in America.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Amunaka

    The republicans are in their last throes ...I can't believe the republicans response I just saw...my god America ..you really want these people back in power ...sickening ..what about the already born alive and breathing..to hell with them huh...

    March 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leslie

    I am very pleased with the passage of the Healthcare Bill. I am one of President Obama's biggest supporters. Although, I am saddened by the fact that once again women are left in the background. The need for abortion rights are so important, not for those women who use it for birth control, but for those who have had a terrible experience. One of my wishes for our country is that religion and individuals morals would be left out of politics. Common sense and trust in others is lost when we aren't allowed to think for ourselves and make our own personal decisions.
    President Obama and Staff, please keep up the wonderful (hard) work you are doing for us.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken

    Guess Pelosi doesn't want to tell us the new date Medicare goes bankrupt or how she handled paying for the $37 Trillion in unfunded liabilities already surrounding government healthcare.

    All this to still allow Medicare to go bankrupt within the decade...question will be, will those who are supposed to be covered in the plan all get enrolled before Medicare goes bankrupt.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AB in Miami, FL

    I know many people who have gone to the emergency room instead of a family doctor because they do not have insurance. They clog the waiting room, and get a bill they will never pay. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion. Where are these people using federally funded money for abortion? How rampant is abortion in America? Have women or couples spent so much money on abortion that they foreclosed on their homes or went bankrupt? Foreclosure and bankruptcy because medical bills are so high has been documented. Someone please give me some facts.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    Even without the EO to ban federal funds for abotion. The Hyde Amendment can't be repelled by the President. It is the Hyde Amendment that bans the use of public money for abortion.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve Wilkinson

    @ William (Bill) Ward –

    You're totally correct. The high insurance premiums are just a symptom of the problem. Universalizing a horribly broken system isn't going to work in the long-run because someone ultimately has to pay. If we can't afford to pay now, running it all through the government (and extra layer of added costs) and then sending the tax-payers the bill, certainly is not going to solve anything.

    Also, more to the topic of this article.... if Obama is actually serious about this EO, then I would applaud him. However, with his pro-abortion track record, as well as all the promises he made to the abortion industry... I am also highly skeptical that this isn't just a temporary move to get the unmodified bill passed, and then will be quietly rescinded.

    – Steve Wilkinson

    March 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lee

    Isn't in "funny" that no congress person is covered by this health care debacle? If it's so great for "the American People" why aren't they included?

    March 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James Bull

    Covering 32 million uninsured Americans will bring so many benefits to our society that aren't easily measured. How cynical and political of the Republican party to oppose HC reform in lockstep fashion, especially a bill less ambitious than Richard Nixon's. This is a victory for the average American against elitism and racism. Well done, Obama.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maureen

    Thank you for this Executive Order! Finally many of us including myself can enthusiastically can support a health reform bill which the US desperately needs with no fear that it will force people to violate their religion and their conscience.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kendra

    While I am pro choice I believe that federal tax dollars should not be used for abortion unless the mother life is at stake and I believe this was the right call on the president's part. Just because you can does not mean you should and while you are free to make the choice other people's tax dollars should not be used to pay for someone elses choice.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. michael

    I am glad the President is allowing for compromise on this issue. I hope that step forward is met by those of an opposite mind. Could we actually be returning to meaningful public discourse rather than shouting? wow. Who woulda thunked it. nah, people are still paranoid he;'ll repeal it. Some will always be paranoid of the black man.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Johann

    Today Obama issued an executive order to prevent money from the health care bill to be used for Abortions! He just sentenced to death hundreds maybe thousands of little girls in the ghetto whose parents worked for his campaign and voted for him. The back alley butchers will still be in business Obama is a Traitor!
    Does anyone really think that the insurance companies especially now with an executive order as a weapon will consider incest, rape, or life endangerment? Women are expendable obviously!

    March 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Las Vegas Eddie Smith

    This is among the biggest non-arguments I have ever heard. I don't think that the tax payers should fit the bill for people who were irresponsible enough to get pregnant before they are married and ready for the responsibility that a child brings. This kind of thinking will only enable the moral decay we see around us everyday, whether it be in the music we listen to or the TV we watch. I think its time we rewind haven't we learned enough already that we need to be more responsible? I do not think however this applies to rape or incest.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
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