On January 20, 2011, Rep. Chris
Smith (R.-NJ) introduced extreme anti-choice legislation for consideration by
Congress. While it is misleadingly called the “No Taxpayer
Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 3), current law already imposes punishing
restrictions on federal funding of abortion services, limiting it to documented
rape and incest and to threats to the life of the pregnant woman.
bill’s sponsors assert that it would “merely codify” existing appropriations
measures, but the bill is radically broad and is clearly intended to prevent
all women from obtaining health insurance coverage for abortion services – even
insurance paid for with private dollars or provided by employers in the private
marketplace. The bill would raise taxes on millions of American families and impose
intrusive new government rules on private, personal medical decisions.
the bill’s so-called “codification” of restrictions annually voted on in
Congress penalizes women who rely on government support to meet their basic
medical needs. As the Center documented
in a 2010 report, the Hyde Amendment and similar provisions cause delays in
needed care that increase medical risks, and impose unconscionable hardships on
poor women. Yet abortion is an essential
part of reproductive healthcare and one of the most common medical procedures
sought by women, one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime.[i]
H.R. 3 would raise taxes on
healthcare coverage for women and families.
majority of employer-based health plans now include abortion coverage.[ii] H.R. 3 would create punishing new tax
penalties designed to make coverage of abortion unavailable through private
health insurance policies, stripping away coverage that millions of women
example, the bill would:
- Ban tax credits for businesses that provide
health plans that include abortion coverage, including the new Small
Business Health Tax Credit, which was created to make health insurance
affordable for small businesses and their employees.[iii]
- Force self-employed individuals to pay new
taxes on insurance plans if the plans include coverage for abortion.[iv]
- Impose a ban on abortion coverage for women who
purchase health insurance with premium assistance under the Affordable
even though they would use their own private dollars to pay for part or
most of the premiums.
Other Harmful and Discriminatory
Restrictions in H.R. 3
millions of women, federal programs are their only means of obtaining
healthcare coverage. Current
restrictions have imposed severe hardships on these women and others who get
their insurance through federal employment:
- Poor women, who are subject to the severe
limitations in the Hyde Amendment, which prevents women on Medicaid from
accessing abortion coverage, are forced to go without food or pawn
household items as they struggle to raise the funds to pay for abortion
services.[vi] This struggle forces many women to delay
obtaining services and have later abortions, others are forced to carry
unwanted pregnancies to term.
- Servicewomen stationed overseas have been
forced to turn to local medical facilities which may be inadequate or
unsafe, some have even tried to self-abort.
- Restrictions on coverage for federal employees
forced one woman to pay thousands of dollars after confronting incredibly
difficult circumstances. After
terminating a wanted pregnancy because she learned that her fetus had no
brain and no chance of survival, she discovered that her federal insurance
did not cover the procedure. In the
midst of her grief, she was handed a $9,000 bill.[vii]
of these restrictions have no home in permanent law. Instead, they are re-enacted each year in
annual appropriations bills and have been changed many times. H.R. 3 would make these damaging restrictions
3 would also deny home rule to the District of Columbia, forcing the District
to remove abortion coverage from its own local Medicaid program. Currently, the District uses its own funds to
provide coverage for medically necessary abortions.
H.R. 3 Would Remove Protections for
Women Facing Medical Emergencies by Permitting Patient “Dumping” by Hospitals
federal law ensures that a woman who needs emergency abortion care cannot be
turned away by a hospital.[viii] Shockingly, the H.R. 3 attempts to eliminate
this reasonable and common-sense protection for patients at state and local
3 would also deny protections to state and local government employees facing a
life-threatening medical situation.
Currently, employers that provide health insurance must ensure that
policies cover abortion services in instances in which a woman’s life is
endangered. H.R. 3 would remove this
fundamental protection for employees of state and local governments.
Center for Reproductive Rights urges strong opposition to H.R. 3.
For more information, please contact:
Laura MacCleery, [email protected],
Guttmacher Institute, Memo on Private
Insurance Coverage of Abortion, Jan. 19, 2011, available at www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2011/01/19/index.html.
Currently, to facilitate entrepreneurship, self-employed individuals can deduct
the cost of healthcare premiums so as not to disadvantage them vis-à-vis those
who have employer-based plans. I.R.C. § 162(l).
[v] I.R.C. § 36B.
for Reproductive Rights, Whose Choice?
How the Hyde Amendment Harms Poor Women (2010), available at //www.reproductiverights.org/en/feature/whose-choice-how-the-hyde-amendment-harms-poor-women.
Statement of DJ Feldman on Harmful Impact of Abortion Coverage Restrictions,
Nov. 16, 2009 at //www.reproductiverights.org/en/feature/no-abortion-ban-statement-by-dj.
Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd.