On October 12, a statement from the White House Office of Management of the Budget noted that senior advisors to President Barack Obama are recommending that he veto any bill presented to him that would restrict insurers from paying for abortions. the White House statement declared, “"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."
Furthermore, in reference to so-called Obamacare, the statement declared, "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 added that the bill "goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law.”
H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, would ensure that no funds authorized or appropriated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), including tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, may be used to pay for abortion or abortion coverage. It also requires that individuals or state or local governments must purchase a separate elective abortion rider or insurance coverage that includes elective abortion but only as long as that is done with private funds and not monies authorized by Obamacare.
The U.S. House of Representatives will consider the bill on October 13. While it will probably pass in the Republican-majority House, the Democrat-controlled Senate is not likely to usher it through. Republicans in the Senate failed to force a floor vote on any of the House-passed anti-abortion legislation, including a bill from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., that would permanently ban the use of federal funds for abortions. These pieces of legislation will serve as bargaining chips that Republicans can attach to essential legislation, such as Defense and Agriculture appropriations, that must pass in the Senate.
A spokesperson for the National Women’s Law Center denounced the proposed anti-abortion bill as an “anti-woman thing” that is part of other “anti-woman” legislation that the House intends to attach to other legislation. Pro-life advocates are hoping that this is precisely what will happen and allow Republicans to show leadership on the Senate floor.