– Albert Camus
I’m sure that there are many well-meaning people out there who are asking, “Whats so bad about the government helping poor people have health insurance”? In truth, there is nothing wrong with wanting to help poor people providing the money used to do it is voluntarily given and those receiving it are truly deserving and that it is given in an efficient and responsible manner (which i might add the federal government is incapable of doing). Leaving those concerns aside, the healthcare bill that our President just signed into law uses your tax dollars to fund abortions.
But what about Stupak and the Hyde amendment? Well, you know what they say, Stupak is as Stupak does, or in other words the Stupak show was nothing but that-a show. The wording of this law and the farcical executive order that followed it have done nothing to enforce any genuine prohibition on spending tax dollars for elective abortions. Matthew Anderson at First Things has brilliantly demonstrated this point in a post entitled A Final FAQ on Healthcare and Abortion:
But isn’t this bill covered by the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions?
If it was, what is all the wrangling about? You could be assured that Stupak wouldn’t have held out for months for redundant language in the bill. But as John McCormack (an invaluable source) points out:
But the Hyde amendment does not say that “none of the funds channeled through HHS” may pay for elective abortions; it says “none of the funds appropriated by this act” may pay for elective abortions. A Hyde-like amendment needs to be included in each different act authorizing public health programs, or the programs will end up paying for abortions, just as Indian Health Services did long after the Hyde amendment was on the books.
In other words, no. The bill isn’t subject to the Hyde amendment.
So Stupak solved this with the Executive Order, right?
But if you’re still not convinced, there are three problems with it:
1) It’s not clear that the language actually adds anything to the bill itself. Ezra Klein (a lefty commentator) thinks that it essentially promises to enforce the bill…as it’s written. Which is a pretty plausible reading of it.
2) While executive orders may have the force of law, they cannot alter the laws on the books.
3) Again, given Beal v. Doe, the federal government is 0bligated to provide abortions as a part of comprehensive health services in the absence of laws prohibiting it. Given that the Executive Order is not in fact the law, a court challenge will have to nullify the Executive Order in favor of the bill as its written. And if you don’t expect that court challenge to come quickly after the appropriations are received, you’re dreaming.
So is this law bad? Well, if you believe that the blood of the unborn is a fair payment for insurance coverage then you should be tickled pink. For the rest of you like me who see the horror of this law, we have a big fight ahead of us and this is no time for the sunshine patriot. Yes, Mr. Paine said it best when he penned the immortal words, These are the times that try mens souls.”
HT: Justin Taylor