‘America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009’

By Michael Hichborn

Ever since July 14, when the first version of Obamacare, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, American Life League has been carefully monitoring "health care reform” proponents’ efforts to promote abortion, contraception, sex education, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell therapy, health care rationing, violation of conscience rights and any other anti-life endeavors. By publishing several articles and producing two American Life League Report videos on Obamacare, American Life League is exposing so-called health care reform proposals for what they really are: the culture of death’s attempt to vastly expand its power and reach, through institutionalized population control.

The U.S. Senate’s version of Obamacare, ironically named America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 (S. 1796, introduced in the Senate on October 19) is set to cost the American people over $829 billion.  To put this amount in perspective, Defense Department spending for fiscal year 2009 was $651.2 billion, and the total amount of outstanding consumer credit card debt for 2008 was $927.73 billion. 

But the most significant problems with this 1,504-page bill lie in its coverage of abortion; its redefining of euthanasia so as not to include starvation, dehydration and withholding or withdrawal of medical care; and its creation of a new resource center that would essentially establish Planned Parenthood as a quasi-government agency.

Page 73 establishes abortion as a component of “a State basic health program,” thereby fostering taxpayer-funded abortion in individual states. Paragraph 3 (“Assured Availability of Varied Coverage through Exchanges”) of section 2245, “Special Rules Relating to Coverage of Abortion Services” (pages 140–144), specifically stipulates that there would be at least one state-funded plan that would provide for abortion.

The “compromise” here seems to be that one can opt for a plan that does not cover abortion. Even though subsection (b), “Prohibition of Use of Federal Funds,” of section 2245 purports to prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion coverage, simply segregating funds so that specific individual dollars do not intermingle with abortion dollars is deceit of the highest order. The fact is that when money is granted to an entity that commits abortions, even if cannot be spent directly on abortion coverage, it frees up other funds to pay for abortions.

Part (c) of Paragraph (3) of the same section, titled “No Discrimination on the Basis of Provision of Abortion” (page 144), is especially insidious. Regardless of whether a particular health care plan covers abortion or birth control, the insurer may not discriminate against paying individual health care providers because they do or do not perform abortions or distribute birth control. So, a private Catholic health insurance company that does not cover abortion or birth control, but does cover STD testing and pap smears, may not deny payment to Planned Parenthood if a patient insured by such a company seeks either of those services there, even though PP is the nation’s largest promoter and provider of abortion.

Section 1202, “Application of State and Federal Laws Regarding Abortion” (pages 144–145), simply states that this Act supposedly does not affect standing state and federal laws regarding the practice, funding or coverage of abortion. It also states, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to have any effect on Federal laws regarding conscience protection; willingness or refusal to provide abortion; and discrimination on the basis of the willingness or refusal to provide, pay for, cover, or refer for abortion or to provide or participate in training to provide abortion.”

Section 1639, “State Eligibility Option for Family Planning Services” (pages 371–380), allows for state plans to cover “family planning services and supplies … in a family planning setting” (page 373). It is well known that “family planning services” means contraception and abortion, and a “family planning setting” is a place like Planned Parenthood.

Section 1640, “Grants for School-Based Health Centers” (pages 380–381), states, “The Secretary shall establish a program to award grants to eligible entities to support the operation of school-based health centers.” It is very possible that Planned Parenthood, already heavily involved in school sex education programs and the peddling of contraception and abortion to minors under the guise of health care, could be among the “eligible entities.”

Section 1802, “Support, Education, and Research for Postpartum Depression” (pages 480–484), authorizes a federal study of all mental health aspects of “resolving a pregnancy,” including carrying to term, miscarriage and abortion. While any speculation on the purpose of such government-sponsored research is pure conjecture at this point, it should be noted that this section also includes plans for a national propaganda campaign regarding “postpartum conditions.”

Section 1921, “Protecting Americans and Ensuring Taxpayer Funds in Government Health Care Plans Do Not Support or Fund Physician-Assisted Suicide; Prohibition Against Discrimination on Assisted Suicide” (pages 581–583), creates a rather interesting dynamic. Subsection (a) states that federal funds “shall not pay for or reimburse for any health care entity to provide for any health care item or service furnished for the purpose of causing, or for the purpose of assisting in causing, the death of any individual, such as by assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.“

However, subsection (c), “Construction and Treatment of Certain Services” (page 582) specifically states that this prohibition does not apply to abortion. While the statement itself is deplorable, it is highly noteworthy as an implicit recognition of the preborn baby as an “individual” and an acknowledgement that abortion causes the death of an “individual.”

Furthermore, it should also be noted that subsection (c) also stipulates that “the withholding or withdrawing of medical treatment or medical care” and “the withholding or withdrawing of nutrition or hydration” are not to be considered “assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing” and are thus not prohibited under subsection (a). This subsection is a direct slap in the face to those of us who denounced the withdrawal of Terry Schiavo’s feeding/hydration tube for what it was: murder. This subsection allows for physicians to intentionally starve and dehydrate patients to death by redefining what constitutes “assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.”

The title of Section 1803, “Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training” (pages 491–508) is a euphemism for new taxpayer-funded, massive sex education programs and stipulates grants of at least $250,000 to each state for this purpose.

In order for states to receive money for such programs, they must provide the following: current statistics on the pregnancy and birth rates of children age 10–19; goals for reducing pregnancy and birth rates for said children; and a description of how such funds will be used to reach these goals, especially for “youth populations that are the most high-risk or vulnerable for pregnancies or otherwise have special circumstances, including youth in foster care, homeless youth, youth with HIV/AIDS, pregnant youth who are under 21 years of age, mothers who are under 21 years of age, and youth residing in areas with high birth rates for youth.”

The allotted money may be granted to organizations that would operate such programs, i.e. organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Programs are defined as those “designed to educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections” (pages 498–499).

Requirements for these programs, found in subsection (B), include replicating “evidence-based effective programs … which means delaying sexual activity, increasing condom or contraceptive use for sexually active youth, or reducing pregnancy among youth.” Specifically, such a program must be “medically accurate and complete”; the program must include “activities to educate youth who are sexually active regarding responsible sexual behavior with respect to both abstinence and the use of contraception”; “the program places substantial emphasis on both abstinence and contraception … among youth”; and “the program provides age-appropriate information and activities.”

But the most dangerous aspect of this entire section is the creation of a “National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Resource Center” through Subsection (C) on page 503:

The Secretary shall award a grant to a nationally recognized, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that meets the requirements described in clause (ii) to establish and operate a national teen pregnancy prevention resource center (in this subparagraph referred to as the ‘Resource Center’) to carry out the purpose and activities described in clause (iii). (emphasis added)

According to the requirements set forth in clause (ii),

The organization has demonstrated experience working with and providing assistance to a broad range of individuals and entities to reduce teen pregnancy. The organization is research-based and has comprehensive knowledge and data about teen pregnancy prevention strategies.

There is no organization that better fits this description than Planned Parenthood. The language in this clause even includes PP’s preferred adjective for its explicit, promiscuity-promoting sex education: “comprehensive.” If this provision is allowed to remain in America’s Healthy Future Act, PP will assume the position of a quasi-government agency with quasi-governmental powers to engage the nation’s youth on matters of sex, birth control and abortion.

American Life League will continue shining the spotlight on the culture of death’s attempt to promote its agenda and expand its reach through Obama-style “health care reform.” As changes are made and provisions are introduced or removed from current federal legislation, you can count on American Life League to keep you updated on these developments.

Michael Hichborn is a researcher for American Life League and host of the American Life League Report.