When the House passed the historic Senate version of health care reform, it opened the door for the federal government to pay for more abortions than at any time in history.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who had led the pro-life opposition, changed his vote after President Obama promised to sign an executive order said to place certain limits on abortion funding.
Nonetheless, it is the first time in more than 30 years that the government has departed from its longstanding policy of not using federal dollars to directly pay for abortions.
The bill allows for taxpayer funding of abortion, calls for federal regulations that would expand access to abortion, and provides federal subsidies to help people purchase private insurance that covers abortion.
Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst with Focus on the Family Action, said Congress blatantly ignored overwhelming opposition to the bill. “More appalling,” Horne said, “is that House Democrats also ignored the voices of tens of millions of Americans who believe federal funding of abortion is wrong. They changed 30 years of policy protecting Americans of pro-life convictions from being forced to pay for something that violates their personal and, in many cases, religious convictions.”
Although Stupak steadfastly claimed he would not support the bill with abortion language in it, that changed on Sunday. He and other pro-life Democrats voted in favor of the bill.
The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) stripped Stupak of the Defender of Life Award in response to his flip-flopping. “By accepting this deal from the most pro-abortion president in American history, Stupak has not only failed to stand strong for unborn children, but also for his constituents and pro-life voters across the country,” explained SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Let me be clear: Any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.'”
Minority Leader John Boehner said an executive order will not do nearly enough. “The law of the land trumps any executive order, which can be reversed or altered at the stroke of a pen by this or any subsequent president, without any congressional approval or notice,” the Ohio Republican explained.
“Moreover, while an executive order can direct members of the executive branch, it cannot direct the private sector.”
Attorneys general in a dozen states have said they will challenge the constitutionality of the bill. They have said they will sue the president if he signs it into law, which he’s expected to do this week. “The health care legislation is an assault against the Constitution,” South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told The Associated Press.