The House voted Tuesday night to pass Congressman Chris Smith’s (R-N.J.) No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which expands bans on federal funding of abortions and requires that the Obamacare insurance exchanges clearly describe which plans cover abortion.
The act forbids Obamacare insurance subsidies from being used toward plans that cover abortion. It would make the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law that prohibited Medicaid from funding abortions, a permanent fixture of national law. It also disqualifies abortion payments from tax benefits. The bill provides for exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and endangerment of the life of the mother.
The bill also mandates “prominent display” of abortion coverage in all plans offered on the new insurance exchanges, and disclosure of any surcharges that apply to abortion procedures.
The Obamacare exchanges have created confusion concerning abortion coverage. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute has already documented their difficulty in discovering which plans cover abortion in the government's Multiple-State Plan Program, a program designed to expand options in states with few providers. Many insurance company employees were confused or misinformed about the content of their plans. In one case, the director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity was incorrectly told that there were no options for her in the D.C. exchange that did not cover abortions. Some websites have since updated this information. Smith’s bill is, in part, a response to these problems.
White House aides have already suggested that they would recommend vetoing the bill, should it pass both chambers of Congress.