WASHINGTON, DC -- The following information was released by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC):
By a bipartisan vote of 251-172, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358), a bill to nullify the multiple abortion-expanding provisions of the 2010 federal health care law ("ObamaCare").
On October 5, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius vehemently defended the 2010 health care law in a speech to a NARAL Pro-Choice America fundraiser, saying 'we are in a war' with critics of the law. On October 12, the White House issued a formal veto threat against the Protect Life Act. "President Obama won enactment of ObamaCare in 2010 partly by pretending that the bill did not expand abortion -- but now the mask is coming off," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
In an October 6 letter to U.S. House members, NRLC noted that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, Public Law 111-148, "ObamaCare") ". . . contained multiple provisions that provide authorizations for subsidies for abortion, both implicit and explicit, and also multiple provisions that opened doors to abortion-expanding administrative actions." The Protect Life Act would prohibit the use of any PPACA-authorized funds for abortions or to subsidize health plans that cover abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. The Protect Life Act would not restrict the sale or purchase of insurance coverage for abortion with non-federal funds.
During today's debate, opponents of the bill repeatedly claimed that it would allow hospitals to deny women "emergency" abortions. In reality, the bill does not change the longstanding federal law in question, called EMTALA, which requires that in an "emergency" a hospital must do its best to stabilize both the pregnant mother and her "unborn child" (which is the term used in the statute). The Protect Life Act allows federal funding of an abortion required to save a mother's life.
The Protect Life Act is sponsored by Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Il.). On today's vote on passage, the bill was supported by 236 Republicans and 15 Democrats. It was opposed by 170 Democrats and two Republicans.
NRLC's Douglas Johnson presented detailed information on the abortion-expanding provisions of ObamaCare, and regarding the need for the Protect Life Act, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on February 9, 2011:
Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.