President Obama's new compromise health care plan changes little and would still allow for federal funding of abortion, pro-life groups warned on Monday after the White House unveiled the proposal.
The new plan proposes to provide $11 billion to the nation's Community Health Centers, without any restrictions on the use of the federal funds to pay for abortion on demand. The Hyde Amendment – which bans federal funding for abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to the physical health of the mother – currently applies to Medicaid but would not affect the fund for the health centers, noted National Right to Life Committee.
Though the centers currently do not perform abortions, there is no law barring them from offering the procedure. Several pro-abortion groups, including the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Abortion Access Project, are campaigning for Community Health Centers to perform elective abortions "as an integrated part of primary health care."
"Obama's plan is a re-hash of the Senate and House bills with a higher price tag – and will force Americans to pay for abortions," said Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright.
"Americans do not want to pay for someone else's abortion, and we don't want abortionists getting rich off our tax dollars," she said.
President Obama's plan is costlier than the Senate's but cheaper than the House's bill. According to officials in the administration, the Obama plan would cost $950 billion in the next decade. The Senate bill would total an estimated $871 and the House plan would exceed $1 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
But as Wright pointed out, most Americans are opposed to a health care plan that includes taxpayer-funded abortion, as several national polls have shown. The issue of federal funding of abortion has even divided Democrats, causing some to join Republicans in opposing bills that allow such use of tax dollars.
About a quarter of the House Democrats joined Republicans last fall to vote for the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which bars federal funding for "any health plan [public or private] that includes coverage of abortion," except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the woman's life.
"In the face of obvious bipartisan consensus against abortion funding, the President remains deaf to the voices of American taxpayers," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. "President Obama's most precious domestic priority is on life support, but he still refuses to jettison abortion coverage.
"It appears that abortion ideology is more precious to this president than his top domestic priority," she said.
Pro-life groups have called on the Senate to adopt language similar to the House's Stupak-Pitts Amendment.
Other problems in the White House plan, carried over from the Senate bill, include federal subsidies for private health plans that cover abortion on demand through the premium-subsidy tax credits program, and authorization of federal mandates that would require even non-subsidized private plans to cover elective abortions, according to NRLC.
President Obama will meet Thursday with top congressional Republicans for a televised health care summit. The White House has asked Republicans to present a detailed alternative proposal prior to the meeting.