Roe v. Wade, which marks its 40th anniversary this week, created a host of new conflicts for life and conscience and did nothing to resolve cultural and political debates around the issue—including debates around the funding of abortion.
Each year, the federal government entangles taxpayers in the abortion business, and under Obamacare even more funds—private as well as public—will flow to abortion services.
Federal Funding of Planned Parenthood
Even though the organization boasts the title of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has ridden the waves of taxpayer funding to millions of dollars in annual surpluses. In 2011 alone, Planned Parenthood received over $542 million in taxpayer funding while performing a record 333,964 abortions. According to analysis by the Susan B. Anthony List, Planned Parenthood has performed almost 1 million abortions in the past three reporting years alone.
Exporting Taxpayer Funding of Abortion
In January 2009, President Obama rescinded the Mexico City policy—a 1984 directive by the Reagan Administration that prohibited certain federal dollars from going to international organizations that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning. Since then, the U.S. has sent millions of taxpayer dollars to international abortion providers and lobbyists each year.
President Obama also signaled in 2009 that he would restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The U.S. has since sent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to the organization, despite continued assertions that UNFPA has been involved in China’s coercive one-child policy. For years prior, the U.S. withheld funding to UNFPA under the Kemp–Kasten amendment, which prohibits U.S. international aid from supporting coercive abortion procedures or involuntary sterilization.
Obamacare’s Abortion Surcharge
Beginning in 2014, individuals forced to purchase health insurance under Obamacare’s individual mandate will look to state exchanges to purchase qualified health plans and avoid federal fines. States are able to bar insurance plans that cover elective abortion from participating in their exchanges. But so far, only 16 states have passed such laws.
For the rest, the Obama Administration has mandated that all individuals enrolled in a state exchange health plan that includes coverage of elective abortion pay an abortion surcharge—out of their own pockets—solely for the purpose of covering elective abortions.
Obamacare’s Anti-Conscience Mandate
Obamacare’s preventative services mandate is currently forcing employers to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraception, regardless of moral or religious objections. The mandated coverage includes drugs such as the “week-after” pill, ella, which some believe can cause an abortion in early pregnancy. Employers are now faced with an impossible decision to either violate their conscience by paying for life-ending drugs or face onerous government fines for non-compliance.
The Declaration of Independence affirms life among humanity’s “unalienable Rights.” This most basic human freedom should be respected in public policy both on domestic and international fronts. Internationally, Congress can bypass the perennial tug-of-war over the Mexico City policy by making it permanent. Domestically, policymakers would do well to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood and close the seams in the patchwork of existing domestic federal funding prohibitions by making them permanent. They can start by repealing Obamacare and replacing it with true health care reform that protects conscience and respects life.