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Public Statements

Affordable Health Care For America Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, there has been some recent confusion surrounding the inclusion of abortion coverage in H.R. 3962, but the issue is actually quite clear. The Capps amendment in the bill, which some have argued is neutral on abortion, explicitly authorizes the Federal Government to directly fund elective abortions using Federal funds drawn from a Federal Treasury account. The provision has been billed as a so-called compromise amendment. But this bill will radically expand current and longstanding Federal policy with respect to abortion.

Currently, there is not a single government health care program that provides coverage for elective abortion; not SCHIP, not Medicaid, not DOD, Indian Health or the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, all because of congressional action to explicitly prohibit coverage of abortion under each of these programs. But such an explicit exclusion is missing from this bill.

Therefore, I urge my colleagues to support, when it comes up later, the Stupak-Pitts-Chris Smith-Ellsworth-Dahlkemper-Kaptur amendment that would prevent Federal funding of abortion in this bill.

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Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 1/4 minutes.

I rise in support of this bipartisan amendment.

Polls have repeatedly shown that the public does not support Federal funding of abortion, yet that is exactly what is in this bill. Current law actually prevents any Federal health care plan from paying for abortion. It also prevents taxpayer subsidies from flowing to benefit packages that include abortion. However, the Capps amendment included in this legislation would have the opposite effect.

Under this bill, funds will flow from premium payments and affordability credits into the U.S. Treasury account, and that account will then reimburse for abortion services. Every dollar in the public option is a Federal dollar. Let me be clear, if the government plan covers abortion, that amounts to Federal funding for abortion. It's that simple. Our amendment would maintain the principles of the Hyde amendment, something that the large majority of Americans support.

I urge my colleagues to stand with the majority of the American people, to oppose establishing a Federal Government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, to keep the government out of the business of promoting abortion as health care, and support this amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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