Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
Late yesterday, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that documents taxpayer funding of elective abortion through state plans authorized under the Affordable Care Act. You can read the report here.
Reviewing data collected up to September 2014, the GAO found that 1,036 plans -- in states with little or no restrictions -- offer abortion on demand, subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. This information contradicted President Obama's 2010 executive order, which stated
the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges’
The GAO report also confirmed that some insurers offering qualified health plans have not adhered to regulations governing the provision of abortion services -- including the requirement that policyholders must pay a separate surchange for abortion services. Fox News jumped on the GAO's findings
An ObamaCare provision that requires individuals to pay separately for abortion coverage to ensure abortions are not funded by taxpayers is being widely ignored by insurance providers
The abortion surchange rule had been dismissed by pro-life advocates as "an accounting gimmick," but it was designed to prevent tax dollars from being used to pay for elective abortions. The GAO authors politelly suggest that government regulators might tighten up their oversight of compliance issues.
The report should settle the debate over whether plans authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) funnel taxpayer dollars for elective abortions, in a major break from Hyde amendment restrictions that reflect broad opposition to the use of tax dollars for such purposes.
Last April, Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, an industry lobby, still refused to budge from her past support for the ACA
we continue to be confident, as we have been since the law passed, that ACA does not enable federal funds to be accessed for abortions
In reality, as Rep. as Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ -- who leads the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and has doggedly investigated ObamaCare well before it passed in 2010 -- noted in his reaction to the GAO's findings, the opposite is true. Indeed, in some state exchanges, it is tough to find a qualified plan that doesn't include coverage of elective abortions
New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii pays for abortion on demand
in New York a 405 out of 426 ObamaCare plans subsidize abortion on demand
in California—86 of 90
in Massachusetts—109 0f 111
in Oregon—92 of 102
in Washington, DC—23 of 34
The report arrived just in time for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life advocacy group that will use this information in its midterm election campaigns. SBAList has targeted U.S. lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. SBAList has argued that when U.S. lawmakers voted for ObamaCare in 2010, they also voted for a massive increase in tax-payer funding of abortion. The SBAList said the report
further found that disclosure of abortion coverage in plans is inconsistent, confirming criticisms from both sides of the abortion debate that transparency of coverage is lacking.