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. A. Tracey

    Fourth definition of tyranny (Webster's) : oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.

    A representative government that does not legislate according to the vast majority of the nation's citizens is tyrannical. Where are the polls that show the American people want this? Oh wait, those don't exist.

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

    Good for Stupak and Obama in standing up for principal (one being pro-life, the other being getting health care passed). Health care promotes life, as does Obama's EO. As a health care provider myself, health care providers should NOT have to violate their consciences in order to deliver care. It's about time providers are protected, and patients who request abortions do so freely without the sanction of the federal government.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tobi

    Please don't whine and moan about the flaws in the health care legislation. A health care overhaul like this is never going to be perfect right from the start. Like other programs that millions depend upon, including Social Security, the new health insurance program(s) will surely be amended and improved as time goes on. But we all must keep in mind the millions of people throughout our country who have not only suffered because of a lost job, but also have lost their–and their whole family's–health care coverage. No one who loses their job in ths country should have to watch a family member suffer or go untreated because they cannot afford medical treatment. That has been a national embarrassment for far too long and it's well past the time we should have collectively taken action. Kudos to President Obama for finally stepping up to the plate.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Awaal Oastad

    Well done. Gotta love this. Republican pundits are now unhappy because they are not gonna get any more extra $$$ from insurance companies to buy vacations and to buy their private insurance plans.



    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kay Wharton Massow

    I want to thank President Obama and all who have worked so hard on this bill. They have conceded on the Abortion issue and I believe they will hold up their decision. President Obama stated in his book that he understood Abortion is an issue where there is no room for negotiation for many people and he respects their views although he did not personally agree with them. I believe he has made this commitment out of this respect.

    As for the person who sarcastically responded that everyone will wait to get insurance until they are sick....he is just wrong. And, apparently he does not think much of his fellow Americans. There are people with pre-exisitng conditions that have been being discriminated against for years. These people will be helped. I don't see why anyone has a problem with that. This is a country where we care about one another – we don't just ship all the sick people off to die without healthcare. I am proud to be an American, especially now that our government is going to see to it that insurance companies who have been making record profits by denying care can no longer commit these crimes.

    God bless America!

    March 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pablo

    Gotta love Obama. He has taken being an idiot to a whole new level. Its it too late to take back the nobel peace prize. On a lighter note you have to give this fool credit. he said he was about change. The country has indeed changed. Its more diveded then its ever been. WTG Ofus

    March 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    I've never really been much involved in politics other than voting. Now I'm inspired to get involved (both time and money) to make sure those that voted for this bill will never be re-elected again. Thanks Nancy for mobilizing the indifferent in this country.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    I support it becuase of my Pre existing condition, that I was born with. I didnt choose my out come, it was choosen for me. The things I have heard is outrages. Car insurance is Privilege and health insurance is not. Also congressmen stated average uninsuranced made 70,000 a year and too lazy to purchase health insurance. Abortion will always be protected under the hyde law, in which I support that law. If you want it left alone then government needs to pick up my health tab, not my fault!

    March 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ana

    William is right, the problem here is not health care coverage, but the fact that being sick breaks you...

    I also had to pay over $7,000 in medical bills when my boy was in the hospital...

    I am fully insured and even pay an extra premium to lower my financial liability.

    I am disappointed that this bill does nothing but "force" Americans TO BUY COVERAGE without doing anything to regulate costs.

    What a joke.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. response to loven it

    Loven it, you dont understand the bill at all. you cant drop your $1100 a month insurance policy, and then pick up insurance only when you get ill. You are now FORCED to pay for insurance now, if you are ill or not, or face a fine from the Federal Government, which will use the IRS to ensure you have government approved insurance every month.

    Yes, they are hiring thousands more IRS agents. YES!! This sounds like a fantastic idea!!

    March 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Moderate May

    @Loven it
    You do realize that that's exactly like driving a car, dropping your insurance, getting hit by an uninsured driver, then driving the scratched car into the insurance office parking lot and asking for insurance to cover the scratches you got while not under insurance.

    There's a reason it's called health INSURANCE and not handout money.

    Now health insurance companies shouldn't discriminate because you have, say, diabetes, asthma or cancer or something and you're transferring policies, opening a policy for the very first time after leaving your parents, or losing your job. (that's who the pre-existing condition laws are for)

    But dropping you coverage, breaking your leg and THEN asking for coverage again just goes against the way the system works, plain and simple, and people like you who can afford coverage and do just that deserve the penalties. I doubt even the Dems are dumb enough to make the laws that lenient.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Douglas Spurlock

    William Ward , in comment 24, makes great sense. This bill will not solve the problem it will only add cost to the taxpayers of the country. Solve the ptroblem of the high cost of the care delivery system. This will solve the problems of high premiums etc. If any believes that we can this many uninsureds to the system and not increase the cost to the taxpayer is a niave fool. I remember when HMOs were to be the answer. The promise was provide more service (preventive care, exercise clubs, etc, – but save money. That was , like this bill, an empty promise.Both sides of this debate hjave lost sight of the goral. Obama has to win with this bill to protect his presidencey. The republicans have to defeat this bill to defeat Obama's presidency. Neither side seems to really want to fix the problem. The republicans claim that is what they want but I think it a fair question to ask why didn't they attempt it when they held the power. In the long run, for this particular debate, the republicans need to win because they are then obligated to address the problem. Shame on all of them.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Indyman

    It's too bad that NOW, a dying organization, is not putting their efforts into education and contraceptive information out to the public. If NOW is so concerned with "reproductive health" of women, perhaps the PREVENTION of unwanted pregnancies should be the focus, not killing unborn babies. What kind of choice is that? The selfishness of NOW to place this issue as priority over Health Care for all Americans is downright ignorant. No, I'm not a Tea Bagger, nor a Republican or Democrat, but a person who wants sensible Americans to take control of their own lives by making intelligent choices.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Randy

    Goofy symbolic 'victory' for Stupack and his crew to bring to the dumbest of their voters to try to stay in office. Hopefully they'll be primaried out by real Democrats who actually care about helping people instead of pandering to ignorance and sanctimony. And maybe this will wake up the younger generation to the fact that there are some seriously deranged theocrats in this country who have their own little Taliban-type fantasy for America. The anti-choice movement has been a money maker for the GOP for decades. The other side of the argument has gone to sleep with the complacency of believing we can't possibly be stupid enough to go back to the days of illegal abortion. Let's hope we don't have to go all the way to banning abortions and the horrors that would follow for people to realize what the anti-choice crowd is pushing on the nation.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David

    Any reform is good reform. Higher taxes or higher premiums (at least one requires an act of Congress and not a simple illness)? I did health care billing for 7 years for my ambulance service – I can tell you that private health insurers are snakes – they are evil – they are slime – they are con artist who don't want to pay anything. Even on a 911 emergency, private insurers just love to lose claims, state they never got a claim and then state that there was no pre-approval (really? on a 911 call)? Your doctor is ALWAYS a slave to the insurance companies policies and a nurse, not a doctor, determines if you can be admitted and when you are discharged. Everyone against this reform is brainwashed, to an extent, by the private insurance company lobby groups. I for one would much rather pay higher taxes than unregulated, higher premiums.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
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