Lipinski Works to Remove Taxpayer Funding for Abortion from Health Care Bill

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) today released the following statement regarding his efforts to remove federal funding for elective abortion from the House health care reform bill, H.R. 3962.

"For more than 30 years, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited federal funding of elective abortions. The Hyde Amendment clearly states that no federal funds 'shall be expended for any abortion' and that no federal funds 'shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.' As recently as July 24 of this year, the House passed H.R. 3293 - the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill - containing this language. However, the House health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, does not contain the Hyde Amendment and thus would permit federal funding for health plans that provide abortion, in direct contradiction of long-standing federal policy. Furthermore, the bill's public health insurance option, which is established with $2 billion in federal start-up funds, would also be permitted to offer abortion coverage.

"There have been reports of a compromise to address concerns about abortion in the House health care bill.  Unfortunately, this proposal does not in any way reflect the intent of the Hyde Amendment and would merely codify accounting segregations intended to provide the appearance of excluding federal funds from abortion services. For me, many of my colleagues, and a significant majority of other Americans, this is not sufficient to address our fundamental concerns about federal funding for abortion.

"In short, the House health care reform bill constitutes a radical departure from the long-standing and consistent policy embodied in the Hyde Amendment. Though it takes a different approach, the proposed compromise also represents a sharp break with past practice. Along with Rep. Bart Stupak and many other members of Congress, I strongly oppose efforts to cast aside the established prohibition on federal funding for abortion and for health plans that provide abortion coverage, and will continue to seek changes to the bill that will reflect our concerns."

(November 5, 2009)