The Obama administration has threatened to veto legislation that would prevent federal funding for abortion, including through coverage programs created by Obamacare.
The Protect Life Act — expected to come up for a vote Friday — is sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Joe Pitts with 145 co-sponsors. It would also protect the rights of health care providers and insurance companies to not cover abortions if it conflicts with their beliefs.
The Office of Management and Budget announced Wednesday that the president’s senior advisors will recommend that he veto the legislation should it reach his desk.
“[T]he legislation intrudes on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restricts the private insurance choices that women and their families have today,” the Obama administration’s statement read.
“Longstanding federal policy prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered. The Affordable Care Act preserved this prohibition and included policies to ensure that federal funding is segregated from any private dollars used to fund abortions for which federal funding is prohibited.”
The statement pointed out that Obama has already dealt with the potential for federal funding of abortion with his March 2010 executive order, which reinforced the prohibitions “(except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and ensures proper enforcement of this policy.”
According to movement pro-lifers, however, the executive order was not enough. (RELATED: Boehner to Obama: Congress will ‘continue to control the purse strings’)
“During the debate over Obamacare, the president promised that no taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for abortions under the bill. Unfortunately, this is not the way things have played out,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said at the Values Voter Summit last week.
“And that is why … we’ll be bringing to the floor a bill to ensure that no tax payer dollars flow to health care plans that cover abortion, and no health care worker has to participate in abortions against their will,” he added.
According to the White House, The Protect Life Act goes too far by keeping insurance companies and health care providers on too tight a leash.
It “goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law and reinforced in the president’s executive order by restricting women’s private insurance choices.”
In response to the White House’s threat to veto, Pitts explained the need for his legislation, adding that the president is on the wrong side of the issue.
“The president is a legal scholar — he knows that an executive order is not law: It can be changed by another administration or struck down by the courts,” he said. “He could change the order himself at any point during his administration.”
“A sizeable majority of the American public agrees that the government should not pay for abortion,” Pitts continued. “The only way we make sure that the government does not subsidize abortion or abortion coverage is by writing that protection into law. The president is on the wrong side of this issue.”