Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16), Chairman of the House Values Action Team (VAT), hosted a bipartisan press conference today to explain how the current draft of the House healthcare reform bill contains a hidden abortion mandate. The mandate will result in publicly funded abortions and it will force private insurers to cover abortion. Rep. Pitts hosted the press conference along with Rep. Bart Stupak (D, MI-1), Co-Chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"We stand before you today to highlight an issue that is of the highest level of importance - promoting and protecting the value of human life.
This issue is not about party politics. It is not about obstructionism. It is about saving lives and protecting pro-life Americans across the country.
We stand here today - Republicans and Democrats - to speak for the millions of Americans who do not want their taxpayer dollars to be used to finance the destruction of human life. We stand here today - Republicans and Democrats - to speak out against forcing Americans to participate in plans that cover abortion.
As currently drafted, the proposed health care reform legislation will mandate and subsidize abortion. It will require virtually every American to have a plan that meets the "minimum health benefit standards."
Without an explicit exclusion, abortion will be determined to be included in these benefit standards and will be forced on Americans all across the country. In the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee, amendments were offered to clarify that abortion mandates and subsidies should not be a part of health care reform. However, these amendments were rejected.
And over the weekend, when asked if he would rule out funding for abortion under the legislation, OMB Director Peter Orszag answered, "I'm not prepared to rule it out." However, even if the administration has a change of heart and decides to rule out requiring coverage of abortion, the courts will step in and do so. In the case of Medicaid, the courts ruled that abortion fit within many of the broad mandatory categories mentioned and had to be covered. As a result, Medicaid paid for 300,000 abortions per year until the Hyde Amendment was passed.
This plan will expand public funding for health care beyond the jurisdiction of the Hyde Amendment, so we cannot rely on the annual appropriations provision to prevent massive taxpayer funding for abortion.
The issue here is simple - American taxpayers should not be forced to pay for abortion. Nor should they be forced to be unwitting participants as the abortion industry uses this law to mainstream the destruction of human life into America's health care industry.
That is why I am working with my colleagues to offer amendments in the Committee that would protect Americans from being forced into plans that cover abortion and would ensure that taxpayers are not forced to pay for abortion.
And that is why my colleagues and I stand before you today - to ask that we not make health care about destroying life, but that we rather continue to work to save lives."
Under the proposed legislation, virtually every individual will be required to have health care coverage that meets "minimum benefits standards" established by the administration. Those minimum benefits will include abortion unless Congress acts to explicitly exclude abortion from any government mandated coverage or taxpayer funded health plan. Historical experience with federal statutes demonstrates that if abortion is not explicitly excluded, administrative agencies and the courts will mandate it.