Though it hasn’t occupied the national spotlight in recent years, the American abortion debate will always be one that attracts strong opinions on both sides of the issue. How could it not? One side sees it as nothing less than murder and the other side sees it as a women’s rights issue.
Obamacare came with a boatload of underexplained consequences, but perhaps none are as insidious as its flagrant violation of the Hyde Amendment. While liberals will tell you that the Hyde Amendment is not so much a law as an ongoing rider, it nevertheless prohibits federal funds from going towards abortion except in extreme cases. Obama, in order to secure a Senate victory for the ACA bill, used his executive authority in 2010 to make sure the same rules applied to his signature health law.
Unfortunately, it’s happening anyway. Federal tax credits are given to low income individuals to help them afford subsidized insurance plans. That’s tax money. Many of those insurance plans cover elective abortion. Federal dollars are going to pay for abortions.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, more than 1,000 insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges cover elective abortion. There is no indication that this will change with 2015’s open enrollment. It is not even easy to figure out which plans cover abortion and which ones don’t. And it doesn’t much matter, because your tax dollars could go to fund subsidies that have nothing to do with the plan you bought yourself.
Tricks and Lies
The web of lies that accompanied the ACA have attracted a lot of attention over the last week or so. Jonathan Gruber, one of the most important minds behind the law, has been caught celebrating the “lack of transparency” that allowed the bill to pass. Nowhere, perhaps, is that deceit more clearly defined than in the law’s shady relationship with abortion. Even now, four years after the fact, no one is quite sure whether or not they are paying for someone else’s abortion.
Defenders get around the accusation by saying that the subsidies are a tax break and that plans that come with elective abortion include a surcharge. In other words, your tax dollars aren’t “technically” going to fund abortions and the surcharge dollars are not public funds. But this is just more murk in the water for individuals and families who want to avoid supporting abortion with their money. That really shouldn’t be so hard to do.
Of course, this doesn’t even begin to address the issue of employers who are forced to subsidize insurance plans that cover abortion. And unless you’re a “closely-held” company, you could be in violation of the law if you don’t.
Those who oppose abortion do so on principles far older than the American Healthcare Act. Whether you are pro-life or not, you should be able to see why Americans have the right to be upset about this issue. It’s unfair, unclear, and unwarranted. Even if repeal of Obamacare isn’t in the cards, this particular situation needs to be addressed.