Doocy falsely suggested Senate bill allows for federal “funding for abortion”

On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy falsely suggested that the Senate's health care reform legislation contains “language that does allow for” federal “funding for abortion” beyond what is currently allowed under the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Doocy referenced both Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposition to health care reform because they claim the Senate bill allows for federal funding of abortion.

Doocy: Senate bill “allow[s] for the” federal “funding for abortion”

Doocy: Stupak and USCCB oppose Senate bill because it contains “language that does allow for funding for abortion.” On the March 15 Fox & Friends, Doocy reported that Stupak has “made it very clear that he's not going to vote” in favor of health care reform because the Senate bill “contains language that does allow for the funding of abortion.” Doocy added: “Last week, the Catholic Church, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops” announced that “they are against this because it does allow for funding for abortion.”

Both Stupak and the USCCB falsely claim Senate bill allows for federal funding of abortion. Stupak has repeatedly falsely claimed that the Senate bill allows for federal funding of abortion, while the abortion amendment he sponsored in the House bill does not. Stupak has also maintained, falsely, that his amendment does not go beyond the Hyde Amendment, which currently prohibits the federal funding of abortion, except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. The USCCB has also advanced these falsehoods. In its March 11 statement to parishioners, which Doocy cited in his report, the USCCB stated that “the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions...the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions.”

FACT: Senate bill prohibits health insurers from using federal subsidies to pay for abortion services restricted by Hyde.

The Senate health care reform bill as passed states that if a “qualified health plan” offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, “the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable” to the subsidies created under the bill “for purposes of paying for such services.”

Senate bill establishes a separate premium to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal funds. The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to “collect from each enrollee” in plans that cover abortions a “separate payment” for “an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of” abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.

Current law allows for Medicaid to provide coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde by using similar fund segregation. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for “all or most medically necessary abortions,” not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states “us[e] their own funds” -- not federal funds -- “to pay” for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.