Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) has introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to apply the Hyde amendment to the recently passed health care law.
Rep. Pitts’ bill would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prevent federal funding for abortion or abortion coverage through government exchanges, community health centers, or any other program funded or created by PPACA. Additionally, the bill protects the right of conscience for health care professionals and ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion.
H.R. 5111, the Protect Life Act, has 57 Republican and Democrat co-sponsors, and reflects the bill-wide ban of federal abortion funding once spearheaded by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), but that was not included in the final version of the health bill.
Stupak and a group of Democrats, after initially vowing to vote down the abortion-expanding law, were persuaded by the Obama administration hours before the final vote to support it in exchange for an executive order that purported to apply the Hyde amendment to the legislation. Various analysts have concluded, and the White House has since admitted, however, that the order merely reiterates what is already stated in the bill.
The Protect Life Act would afford the same pro-life protections that were approved with bipartisan support in the House last year.
“Last fall a strong bipartisan majority in the House insisted that the pro-life principles of the Hyde amendment should apply to the new healthcare law. Unfortunately, the legislation ultimately signed by the President lacked these critical safeguards,” said Pitts in a press release April 22.
“A majority of Americans have consistently shown they oppose federal funding for abortion,” he continued. “The new health care law is riddled with loopholes that allow taxpayer subsidies for coverage that includes abortion.
“I’m proud to have strong support from both sides of the aisle. I never want protecting life to be a partisan issue.”
Read the complete text of the bill here.