Wicker, Roberts Introduce Bill to End Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

February 26, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., today introduced key legislation to enact a permanent, government-wide prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion. Currently, similar policies, such as the Hyde Amendment, require annual passage and do not apply to Obamacare.

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” S. 582, also includes a provision championed by Senator Roberts requiring all health insurance plans offered by Obamacare exchanges to disclose coverage of elective abortion procedures and the abortion surcharge embedded into abortion-covering plans.

“During the debate on Obamacare in 2009, President Obama promised the American people that under his plan, ‘No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,’” Senator Wicker said. “We know now that is simply not true. Passing this bill would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting the use of any public funding for abortion. Eliminating loopholes is critical to ensuring that no federal program, including those under Obamacare, is exempt from the prohibition.”

“Millions of Americans oppose the use of their hard-earned money to cover abortion services. This is true both of their tax dollars and of the premiums they pay to their health insurance providers.  However, Obamacare makes it difficult for consumers to know if a plan they are purchasing covers abortion.   We need transparency.  Consumers have a right to know what their fees are paying for, so that they can choose an insurance plan that meets their needs and is in line with their beliefs and values,” Senator Roberts said. “Our bill protects this right.  We ban all taxpayer funding for abortion, and we clearly inform consumers in health care exchanges which plans cover abortive services.”

The legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 7, authored by Representative Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. That bill passed the House by a vote of 242-179 on January 22, 2015.

Existing laws that would also be made permanent under S. 582 include the Smith FEHBP amendment (which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage for federal employees) and the Dornan amendment (which prohibits use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia).

Last year, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office issued a report showing that taxpayer dollars paid for more than 1,000 health insurance plans that included elective abortion.

Cosponsors of the legislation include Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, John McCain, R-Ariz., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Rand Paul, R-Ky., David Perdue, R-Ga., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Richard Shelby, R-Ala., John Thune, R-S.D., and David Vitter, R-La.

The bill is supported by the National Right to Life, the Family Research Council, the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, March for Life, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others.