March 21st, 2010
04:15 PM ET
12 years ago

BREAKING: Obama to issue order on abortion funding, WH says


The White House announced Sunday that President Obama intends to sign an executive order regarding abortion funding that "provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced." (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - The White House announced Sunday that President Obama will issue an executive order regarding federal funding for abortion after the anticipated passage of health care reform legislation in the House.

"While the legislation as written maintains current law," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement, "the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."

(Read the text of the executive order after the jump)

(Below is the text of the order as released by the White House)
A text of the pending executive order follows:

Executive Order

– – – – – – –


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March ­­__, 2010), I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy.
Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.

The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges.
The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.

I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act’s segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.

Section 3. Community Health Center Program.
The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.

Section 4. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

Filed under: Abortion • Democrats • Health care • House • President Obama
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Ashley

    I support health care reform (I don't have insurance) as well as being pro-choice. i do NOT support abortion after the 3rd month nor do I support it being included in this health care reform. This is a little crazy!

    March 21, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    The lies of the democrats!

    March 21, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Perusing-through


    (1.) – STUPAK gets what he wants which is additional assurance that legislatures will not use potential loopholes in health reform to pay for abortions.

    (2.) – PELOSI gets what she wants which is ‘no change in language’ regarding anti-abortion component already in bill, (which already assures not federal money for abortions).

    (3.) – OBAMA gets what he wants which is to have the bill come to a vote.

    (4.) – The AMERICAN MIDDLE-CLASS get what they want which is a YES vote for healthcare reform after an 80+ year wait

    March 21, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    Obama's actions while in office guarantees that he will never have to worry about the thing that finally took down President George W Bush; Term Limits.

    March 21, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. NC

    You socialist liberal sheep......the democrats just sealed their fate for the November 2010 election........the True Americans will vote them out......and socialist obama is doomed in the end the True Americans will get their country back.........Vote for a Republican in 2010 and 2012.

    March 21, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Bedtime for Obonzo

    And next week he can rescind it - suckers.

    March 21, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Gerry NH

    Obama does not car about the american people. He cares about his legacy.

    March 21, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. annie against biased news

    Executive orders can be rescinded as easily as they are written. Stupak already said months ago he would vote for this bill regardless of abortion language in it.

    March 21, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Lilarose in Oregon

    We women who fought in the early days for abortion rights will continue to do so now.

    We will fund safe abortions for women who want them, in spite of the betrayal of our "president" to force women to have babies against their will.

    Back alley abortions weren't that long ago, and they will start again as abortion rights are whittled down by the men in congress who can't stand the idea that women don't want to be controlled by them concerning reproductive rights.

    March 21, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Stephen B.

    non of this is new. The level of political shacanery by the republicans is new. November will not turn out the way you think. To all the republicans barking in the yard the muzzle is coming.

    March 21, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Rick

    It is too bad the Democrats couldn't figure out who is going to pay for all those without insurance. I know my taxes will go up to pay for those without insurance. I really enjoy paying for the others who cannot afford food, clothing, health care, housing, etc.. yet they keep on breeding.
    This program will be the biggest boondoggle in the history of the world.
    The Democrats who voted for this bill made a career ending decision.

    March 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Albo58

    Stupak is a fool if he believes that ANYTHING this President says will actually be steeped in truth! Both need to be chunked out of office ASAP!

    March 21, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. howie

    A great day for the republicans. Now they can take over congress in November and destroy this bill. The vote tonight will ensure republicans take over, wow a great day.

    March 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Deborah

    Please everyone let's get the JOB DONE! Get ready a CHANGE GONNA COME! Stop the spitting and the racial remarks! This bill is for all people! Especially the seniors and children and working poor . All the people who are well off , if you lost jobs then you would have to pay into Cobra after that runs out or if you can't pay it any more what would you do ? Your child is sick ? What would you do ? Lets get this done! YES A CHANGE GONNA COME!

    March 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. freddie

    At least we won the big one, NO PUBLIC OPTION!!!!

    March 21, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. please...

    How can you compare abortion to viagra and say Obama isn't pro-woman? Abortion is a choice to end a life viagra doesn't do that. Huge difference! Now in certain cases when abortion has to take place because of medical reason, I could understand your point. But, for the most part you couldn't be more off. Great job Dems and Obama!

    March 21, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Keith in Austin

    Stupak's political career will end in his next election.

    Obozo will most-likey amend his executive order and show his true colors regarding pro-abortion.

    Democrats have sealed their fate today and their despicable socialist party will perish as a result!

    March 21, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. D

    The Executive Order means nothing.

    March 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Keith in Austin

    November can't get here soon enough!

    March 21, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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