Here's the story. Earlier today this was posted at my friend Jennifer's blog:
Spurred on by something that showed up in my Facebook stream, I called my Congressman, Rep. Mike Doyle to ask about his stance on HR-3 and HR-358. The nice young man who answered the phone told me that Rep. Doyle has yet to take a position on these bills….You can read the rest of her blog post to see that she was pissed. And considering the bills, it's easy to see why. It was also cross-posted at the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society.
First HR 3 - The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. From the CRS Summary:
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act - Prohibits the expenditure of funds authorized or appropriated by federal law or funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law (federal funds) for any abortion.And so on. It's pretty restrictive. It's also the bill that includes an interesting redefinition of sorts. From Section 309, the act's monetary limitations are not in place:
Prohibits federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)
Disallows any tax benefits for amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or for a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortion, including any medical deduction for such amounts or any credit for such an employer-sponsored plan.
if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or if a minor, an act of incest;So the sex needs to be forced (but not, say, drugged or merely threatened) for it to be rape. Also a pregnancy produced when, say, a 14 year old girl is "seduced" by a 29 year old man who isn't a relative are safe.
Then there's HR 358 The Protect Life Act which copies the "forcible rape" language of HR 3.Easy to see why someone who values a woman's right to choose would be seriously annoyed at a Congressman who doesn't yet have a position on such odious legislation.
The only problem? According to the comment Congressman Doyle left at the blog, he has taken a position on the legislation:
Like you, I am strongly opposed to both H.R. 358 and H.R. 3. As you know, these two pieces of dangerous legislation would impose unprecedented restrictions on health care providers and insurers.Lovely legislation, huh?
Specifically, H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, which was introduced by Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), would change our tax laws so that people who purchase their insurance in their state health care exchange (as established by the Affordable Care Act) will not be able to be used to purchase a plan with abortion coverage, even if they write a separate check to cover the abortion coverage included in their health insurance. No plans that provide abortion coverage can have a participant that takes a federal tax credit. People who receive credits will only be permitted to purchase abortion coverage as a rider. This would essentially mean that no longer would any health insurance plans include abortion coverage.
In addition, H.R. 358 includes a provision that allows hospitals to refuse abortion care even when a woman’s life is in danger. It does this by expanding current laws on conscience protections to allow hospitals to refuse abortion in care in all circumstances – even if a woman is hemorrhaging/has preeclampsia/will die if an emergency abortion is not performed – as a matter of conscience. The hospital not only doesn’t have to provide the life-stabilizing care, they don’t have to refer the woman elsewhere, or help with transportation. The scope of these restrictions is unprecedented.
It was an errant intern who blew it on this one - a huge snafu to be sure.
I am sure Jennifer will have more to say about it on Friday.