When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, i.e., ObamaCare, was being debated in public and in Congress during 2010, Americans who supported life were told again and again that the legislation would not cover abortion. But like so many other aspects of Obama’s healthcare overhaul, what was promised and what was received turned out to be two different things – especially considering that many legislators read the bill only after they signed it into law.
For example, the Obama administration has now made it clear that the individual mandate in ObamaCare will contain a charge—an “abortion premium mandate”—to forcibly collect monies from millions of Americans who participate in state-administered “insurance exchanges” to pay for elective abortions. And nothing in the final rule that the Department of Health and Human Services issued March 12 concerning the establishment of exchanges required by ObamaCare alters that in the least.
The administration’s plan is to “collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer” once ObamaCare goes into effect in 2014. Or to put it another way, Americans enrolled in federally-subsidized ObamaCare plans will pay $1 a month to subsidize the abortion industry whether they are pro-life or pro-death, religiously opposed to abortion or religiously indifferent, morally outraged by killing children in the womb or morally obtuse on the matter.
This means President Obama’s war on rights of conscience continues apace.
But since Americans should not be compelled to pay for other people’s elective abortions, the Alliance Defense Fund joined the Bioethics Defense Fund in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of numerous pro-life medical groups on Feb. 13.
The brief lays out the case by highlighting the “inescapable requirements upon all individuals who are, even unwittingly, enrolled in a health plan--either on their own or by their employer--that happens to include elective abortion coverage.” These “enrollees are compelled by the Act to pay a separate premium from their own pocket to the insurer’s actuarial fund designated solely for the purpose of paying for other people’s elective abortions.” Moreover, the requirement denies “enrollees the ability to decline abortion coverage based on religious or moral objections.”
Sadly, it appears that just as Congress passed ObamaCare under the cover of night in March 2010, the aspects of the legislation tied to the abortion mandate were done in an underhanded fashion as well:
Due to the public uproar [over]…elective abortion coverage, the drafters [of the Act] devised a scheme to avoid the direct federal funding of abortion. This goal of avoiding the use of tax-payer subsidies for abortion coverage was unfortunately achieved by a means that violates the First Amendment; namely, by compelling the taxpayer to personally pay a separate abortion premium.
There is too much at stake for Americans to simply look the other way on this particular issue. The same president who issued a mandate in February to force most employers, including religious ones, to provide insurance that covers contraceptives and abortifacients for their employees—whether the employer has a faith-based objection or not—is also telling Americans they will fund the elective, surgical abortions of other Americans.
The First Amendment and our rights of conscience are at stake. No less than freedom itself is threatened by this mandate.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.