WASHINGTON — Two pro-life research groups announced Thursday on Capitol Hill that they've launched a new website designed to help healthcare consumers figure out which Obamacare plans include surcharges that will go directly toward funding abortions.
Troubled by the federal and state health exchanges' "lack of transparency" when it comes to which Obamacare plans require paying for an abortion-funding surcharge, researchers at The Family Research Council and The Charlotte Lozier Institute announced the creation of ObamacareAbortion.com. The website features an interactive map allowing users to thoroughly examine all the Obamacare options in their home states and has color-coded which plans include a surcharge for tax-funded abortion and which plans do not.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-life Caucus, spoke at the Thursday press conference announcing the website and chastised the federal health exchange for not providing consumers with any information to help them make an educated decision as to whether or not they want a health plan that includes abortion funding and its surcharge.
"Once again, health consumers are almost clueless as to which plans fund abortion on demand and which do not," Smith said. "That is why ObamacareAbortion.com is an extraordinarily usefull new tool for heathcare consumers. … The Obama administration's cover-up of abortion insurance plans on the exchange is uncecessary, unacceptable and absolutely unconscionable.
"Consumers have the right to know. Abortion is not healthcare. It dismembers and chemically poisons defenseless unborn children and hurts women," Smith added.
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office finds that over 1,036 Obamacare plans in 28 states cover elective aboritons. The two groups conducted their own research and believe that in 2015 there could be more plans that cover abortion since more healthcare providers are switching to elective-abortion plans.
Director of the FRC Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, said that in conducting the research many health insurance providers were not forthcoming when researchers called to inquire about their transparency regarding abortion and non-abortion plans.
"It's not right that Assurant Health and FirstCare Health plans in Texas would not give a link to the 'internal' document from which they were obtaining their information saying they were not allowed to give it to the public," Grossu asserted. "It's not right that after multiple calls to United Healthcare in Rhode Island, we still don't know if they cover abortion on demand or not because they keep transferring us to their Medicaid/Medicare office. It's not right that Colorado HealthOP is misinforming people that their two multi-state plans are only for federal employees. There is no transparency.
"Jonathan Gruber's comments confirm what we knew about Obamacare all along," Grossu added.
There are four states where 100 percent of their health plan options include an abortion-funding surcharge. This means that anyone living in Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Vermont will be forced to give their hard-earned money into what was deemed an "abortion slush fund."
The research also found that there are nine states in which 90 percent of the health plans cover elective-abortions.
"It is virtually impossible to know what your plan entails in other states," said Kerri Kupec, communications director at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group that fights for religious expression. "Even if you are not living in these four states, you could very well be living in another state that includes these surcharges and you don't even know about it. That is why the work of Family Research Council and Charlotte Lozier Institute is absolutely crucial to taking down this web of secrecy."
Kupec also mentioned that Connecticut, until just last week, was another state that did not offer any pro-life-friendly health plans. Thanks to a lawsuit the ADF filed on behalf of a Connecticut family of Roman Catholic faith, Kupec said the state felt forced to include a few plans that did not include the surcharge. There are now four plans in Connecticut that do not cover abortions.
"Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on [the family's] behalf and we argued on state [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] and federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] and the First Amendment that this was an absolute violation and illegal to force [the family] to pay for the abortions of others," Kupec said.
Smith sponsored House Resolution 7, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act," which passed the House in January. Smith blames Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for blocking the bill in the Senate. According to GovTrack.us, HR 7 has about a 7 percent chance of being enacted. But as Republicans are set to take control of the Senate in January, that could change.