Barack Obama’s efforts to embed abortion funding in the health-care system took a significant blow this week when the Trump administration finalized rule changes that roll back Obama’s contraceptive coverage mandate and prevent tax subsidies from going to abortionists.
The plan announced by the Department of Health and Human Services addresses not only hidden tax funding for abortion but also Obama’s requirement that health insurance plans include abortion.
The requirement was opposed by the Roman Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor, which eventually prevailed on its case in U.S. Supreme Court.
“No American should be forced to violate his or her own conscience in order to abide by the laws and regulations governing our health care system,” HHS press secretary Caitlin Oakley said when the rollback was announced.
Fox News reported the White House had vowed to protect companies and organizations with a religious or moral objection to funding the destruction of the unborn.
While that industry, led by Planned Parenthood and its $500 million annual taxpayer subsidy, enjoyed relative affluence for years, judges in two courts decisions in recent weeks have stated Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional and should be overturned.
Fox News noted that under Obamacare, most employers must cover birth control at no charge as a preventive service for women.
But the new rules apply a series of exemptions to religious organizations, nonprofits and small businesses.
“We thank President Trump and HHS Secretary Azar for enforcing the law and providing much-needed transparency about Obamacare’s abortion coverage,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
“Obamacare was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand since Roe. Then, the Obama administration went even further by allowing insurers to ignore the plain language of the law that said an abortion surcharge had to be collected separately. Instead, the Obama administration allowed the ‘separate’ abortion surcharge to be collected along with regular premiums, effectively defining ‘separate’ to mean ‘together,'” she said.
“Thanks to this trickery, millions of Americans have unwittingly purchased plans without knowing about the hidden abortion surcharge. Consumers deserve to know how Obamacare pays for abortion so they can avoid having their hard-earned dollars used to fund the destruction of innocent lives. Congress must still act to eliminate abortion funding from Obamacare, but until then, the rule issued today is an important step in the right direction.”
Mark Rienzi, president of the non-profit Becket, which defended the Little Sisters of the Poor in court, said the rule finalizes an interim rule that had been announced earlier.
Jennifer Popik, the legislative director for National Right to Life, said, that “while only comprehensive legislative reform can cure the multiple abortion-expanding components of Obamacare, today’s proposed rule from the Trump administration sends a strong message that the federal government ought to get out of the business of paying for abortion until Obamacare can be replaced.”
And NRL President Carol Tobias said, “We applaud President Trump and his administration for enforcing the law and seeking to uphold the principles of the Hyde Amendment to prevent the use tax dollars to pay for abortion coverage.”
Tobias said the rights of conscience “are extremely important to the right-to-life movement to protect medical professionals, religious institutions and employers from being forced to participate in abortion.”
“We commend President Trump for keeping his campaign promises by supporting these rights of conscience. These rule changes will help promote a policy that protects pro-life rights of conscience with regard to abortion,” she said.
Gregory Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom said the rule changes affect many faith-based groups.
“The beliefs that inspire Christian colleges and universities, as well as groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, to serve their communities should be protected,” he said.
“Through these regulations, President Trump kept his promise that people of faith wouldn’t be bullied on his watch. At the same time, contraceptives will remain readily available to those who wish to use them. Additionally, we commend the administration for protecting organizations like March for Life, an organization that bases its pro-life beliefs on science and philosophy, and hosts the largest pro-life gathering in the world every year in Washington, D.C. These final rules affirm the principle that all Americans should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith and conscience without threat of government punishment.”
The battle isn’t over for Little Sisters. Now, states are demanding that the group fund abortion.
Jeanne Mancini of March for Life said her group applauds the Trump administration’s new rule.
“Pro-life organizations should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance and this rule will allow such freedom,” she said.
“March for Life bases its pro-life beliefs on ethics and science; the government has no right to demand that organizations provide health insurance plan options that explicitly contradict their mission; it is un-American. We are very grateful to the Trump administration for its work to protect such conscience rights.”