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. Sue Berg

    It's easy to oppose abortion when you can't get pregnant MISTER.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John R. Wright

    Separation of Church and State has nothing to do with killing babies and everything to do with morality vs. immorality.
    Killing babies = immoral. Saving babies = moral.
    Worrying about the cost of saved babies = immoral.
    Walking all over the Constitution for "healthcare coverage" = immoral.

    By the way... Guranteed Healthcare Coverage does not equal Guranteed Healthcare... ask the British, or ask the Canadians who come here to get their medical needs taken care of.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rick P

    Unlimited medical coverage without any controls or limits to what can be done is NOT insurance – it is unsustainable social medical coverage. We can't pay for it, we can only continue to bankrupt our country by promising benefits today by borrowing against tomorrow. The Democrats and the Obama Administration are working very hard to make a legacy for themselves. Unfortunately, the best of intentions with poor planning amounts to disaster.

    How can we continue to argue about the "rights" of Americans to prosper without regard to the abilty to pay for it? We just don't have any money left – and taxing the "rich" is an illusion. There are thousands of poor and middle class people for every rich person in America .

    We have to become fiscally responsible – stop spending what we don't have!

    March 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon

    FINALLY!!! I was going to vote every dem out if this did not pass. I have great insurance and a great job. I am looking out for the people who cannot afford health insurance and have PRE-EXISTING conditions. The Party of NO = GOP, need to think about other people, other than their rich friends and family.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Margot707

    WW: The original bill which passed in the House addressed almost all of the issues you mention, but it got gutted by likes of the one-cause wonders like Mr. Stupak.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marie, TX

    I am amazed at the level of foresight and thought given by some of the posters on this site. You've read maybe two websites and followed FIXED NEWS and have it all figured out. Great for you. Glad you can make such an intelligent choice based on party spun sound bites and scare tactics.

    First of all, opposition to federally funded abortion has been the status quo in DC. Pelosi and Degrette saw this as a chance to make that change and, gratefully, they were wrong. Yes, women do have a right to determine what to do with their bodies under the Constitution but citizens also have a right as a taxpayer not to pay for it. That's not healthcare. I am satisfied with this.

    As for Obama overturning the order, why would he do that? What's to gain? NOTHING. After this is passed, he's on to something else. HOPEFULLY, getting big corporations to bring jobs back to the States now that they won't bare the sole burden of healthcare costs.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leland

    I favor national health care for ALL American citizens. I am opposed to public funding of ALL elective, unnecessary elective procedures, especially those predicated on inconvenience to maintaining one's figure or life style. I am opposed to funding face lifts, tummy tucks, breast enhancements and abortions with tax payer dollars. Of course I was also opposed to providing multimillion dollar bonuses to mariginal banking and failed insurance corporation execs and we all see how well that worked out for me.

    Bottom line is this; abortion is not a healthcare issue. It is a medical procedure, but that medical procedure is not connected to healthcare and should b

    March 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leland

    I favor national health care for ALL American citizens. I am opposed to public funding of ALL elective, unnecessary elective procedures, especially those predicated on inconvenience to maintaining one's figure or life style. I am opposed to funding face lifts, tummy tucks, breast enhancements and abortions with tax payer dollars. Of course I was also opposed to providing multimillion dollar bonuses to mariginal banking and failed insurance corporation execs and we all see how well that worked out for me.

    Bottom line is this; abortion is not a healthcare issue. It is a medical procedure, but that medical procedure is not connected to healthcare and should be funded privately, not with public funds.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Scott

    Each person pays their taxes and those taxes support services, Eliminiating sections of society from goventment provided services does not sound like a democracy.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. timothyvdh

    If this travesty against the will of the MAJORITY

    March 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. spmos

    Congratulations President Obama !!!
    You have made us Proud to be Americans again

    March 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. carol

    Why is it the Republicans cry that there is no bipartisanship in the bill and that they want some compromises, but when the administration and the Democrats start compromising to put forth a bill it is call back-room shady deals?

    March 21, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vic Verola

    God help our great country !!! With increased government ALWAYS comes oppression. With increased government ALWAYS comes increased costs. With increased government ALWAYS comes lower quality. These are not objective opinions, they are fact supported by years of history. How this house and government cannot understand this is beyond me.

    We all know Healthcare needs reform. It is the elephant that represents 19% of our economy. How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time. Here we are having a single dinner and expect to finish it all. The lunacy.... This is the beginning of a long 8 months of a liberal agenda. America needs to speak in November !!!

    March 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike D

    From a moral standpoint, this is the right thing to do. Anyone who tells you otherwise... is probably fortunate enough or healthy enough to have health care.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J.J.

    I think this is a great moment in America history. Similar to Social Security in the 1930's
    and Medicare in the 1960's. Kudos to Obama and Congress in working hard to get this done.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
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