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. Bonnie

    Section 1-3 states " 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),

    I agree with this for too many women in this country use abortion for a type of birth control.
    I am a Female it is my choice what I do with my body not some Male Congressman, Male President,Male Vice President, Male Lobbist nor some Male Representative.
    Itis sicken and sad that here we are in the 21st Century and we as women still
    do not have full rights to our bodies but some Males whom do not know anyting about the Females body..

    I am very happy with Obama he worked hard pushed and did something that the GOP never really cared about.. GOP you had eight years what did you do for this country, accept leaves USA with so many bills to be paid..
    You over spend on your Iraq war and never even itemized where all the money went to.. ..

    History is being made.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Starcruiser

    I hope this brings to light that religion, like in the far east, poses the same threat right here in our own nation. Yes, there are those that put their religious beliefs ahead of one's rights. They are America'a secret Taliban.....A secret no more that is..

    March 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    The cost won't go down, at best it just wont go up as fast. We will now be forced to buy in to this horrible insurance program against our wills. We are all slaves now and it will only get worse.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    way to stick to your guns Bart Stupak. Mabye the pro choice crowd will someday wake up to the fact that the best choice is abstinence or contraception for women looking for reproductive "choices." A great day for the right to life.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pipy

    For all of those complaining about the cost of health care reform, let's digress for a moment:

    Health care bill over 10 years: 983 Billion

    Department of Defense Budget Request for fiscal year 2010: 638 Billion

    Translation, health care cost for all uninsured Americans, around 10 Billion a year, we could even be pessimistic and double the number; so 20 Billion a year.

    Now, DoD budget request for 2010: 638 Billion... Let's keep things in perspective.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cle

    A quote I've heard a lot in reference to policy development is "There are two things you never want to see being made: sausage and policy."

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our system needs reform, and it will never be perfect for EVERYONE. I'm just happy some steps are being taken to move reform forward.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cathy Bettoney

    The bill is not perfect but you have to start somewhere.

    Health care costs are destroying the budget.

    What did the Republicans do about this during the eight years they were in power? They want to start over? Disingenuous.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bryan

    Go Obama Go! Ivoted for him and will do it again in 2012.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Patrick


    All this Executive Order does is restate the law. It's always been illegal to use federal money for abortions. The more important Issue is that we have some form of health care reform that can be improved over the years. Just look Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (State Supported). Those programs have grown and expanded. Health care will too. Please Do Not Be a Fool and follow Joe Wilson. His party controlled congress for 12 years and during that time we lost jobs and our economy collapsed. Ask Joe Wilson about that. He'll only say that it's Obama's problem and never admit they he and his party were to blame.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jacquie

    If this was the only way to get SOME of the relief people need, then so be it. However, as a Democrat I am tired of the DINO's high-jacking legislation to shove their religious ideas down our throats. They are railing now against big government, how terrible it all is, but they don't have a problem with big government interfering in your bedrooms, dictating your morals and demanding control over your body. Freedom indeed. Only for those who believe as they do. The Republicans and the DINO's are ethically bankrupt in every conveivable way, and I will donate not one penny of my money to any Democrat who voted no. Either you are a Democrat or leave the party. They need to be ran out on a rail, there is NO room for disloyal Democrats. That's the only thing I respect the Republicans for, at least they stick together.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cevin, WI

    This thing will be recinded right after everyone he promised it to gets voted out of office in November.

    March 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rascals2006

    Compromises in public policy do not equate to LIEs. In most cases it's the only way to get public policy passed. Compromises are nothing new in politics...get over it!

    March 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jesse

    ANYONE who voted YES for this crappy bill will never get my vote again. I voted for Obama but have learned my lesson. NOPE! No more! come on 2012!!!

    March 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John in NC

    And the next Democratic president will simply rescind this Presidential executive order. The end result is the Liberal Democrats get their health care bill now and the abortion rights people will get their way with the resciinding of the order. Meanwhile, the Democrats once again have managed to redistribute the hard earned money of those who have worked hard to attain it. Those people with insurance plans provided by their employers are now going to have to pay additional taxes on those plans. Just another way for the government to reach into our pockets. Whatever happened to Obama's pledge to not increase taxes for 95% of us. How soon he forgets.

    March 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Before everyone gets excited about this new health care bill look at how it works in the military. My wife has a problem so instead of going to an appropriate doctor right away she goes to a primary care physician. After they say they can't do anything then they put a referral in for the correct doctor. You have to wait a minimum of 72 hours (business hours) before you can call to make an appointment. Then when you are able to call you have to wait 3-4 weeks to get in because they are booked beyond belief. So if you think this new bill is going to get easier then guess again. Now the games will begin.

    March 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
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