One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde Amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe vs. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.
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