October 20, 2011
200 Smith Street, Apt. 410
Sheridan, Wyoming 82801-3842
Thank you for contacting me regarding abortion funding under Obama Care. It is good to hear from you.
I am opposed to any taxpayer dollars going towards abortion funding. That is why I supported the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the House-passed healthcare bill that passed in the fall of 2009. The Stupak/Pitts amendment passed by a vote of 240-194. This amendment, had it been accepted by the U.S. Senate, would have prevented federal health insurance subsidies from going towards health plans that offer abortion services. This is consistent with the Hyde Amendment, which requires that no federal funding can go towards elective abortions. Under Stupak/Pitts, individuals would have to use their own funds to pay for elective abortions or they would have to purchase separate supplemental coverage that is not federally subsidized.
Unfortunately, the final healthcare bill signed by President Obama in the spring of 2010 included the abortion language from the Senate-passed bill and not the Stupak/Pitts amendment. The Senate language is essentially an accounting gimmick that will force pro-life Americans to fund abortions through their insurance premium payments. There is no difference in requiring Americans to fund abortions through tax dollars or through insurance premiums, if both are forced upon them by the federal government.
President Obama pledged to fix the abortion language and signed an Executive Order to this effect. There is some disagreement over whether the Executive Order actually brings Obama Care closer to Stupak/Pitts or represents no more than enforcement of the Senate provisions. Regardless, the public should not have to rely on the discretion and generosity of the President, who at any point could rescind even his own Executive Order.
With a new Republican Majority in the House of Representatives, I am proud to say that I voted for H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act. Introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), this legislation passed the House on October 13, 2011 by a vote of 251-172.
H.R. 358 would return Obama Care to the Stupak/Pitts approach by barring funding from being used to pay for abortions or abortion coverage. The bill clarifies that issuers who do offer elective abortion coverage must also offer a plan that is identical except that it does not cover elective abortion, meaning families would never have to choose between abortion coverage or selecting the plan that otherwise meets their needs. In addition, the bill bars state, local or federal programs or entities in receipt of Obama Care funds from discriminating against medical providers based on their refusal to provide, train in, or refer for abortions. H.R. 358 now goes to the U.S. Senate, where I hope it is regarded favorably.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me. I value your input. If you haven't done so already, I would like to encourage you to visit my website at www.lummis.house.gov. There you can sign up to receive my newsletter, and have access to a wealth of other information. I won't flood your email box, but I will provide you with updates once in a while about activities in Washington that affect our lives in Wyoming. I hope you will sign up so that we can stay in close touch, and I look forward to seeing you in Wyoming.
Cynthia M. Lummis
Member of Congress