A bipartisan group of House lawmakers plan to challenge provisions in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act that they believe contain a hidden abortion funding mandate.
The legislation specifically includes a requirement that will subsidize abortion, said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who joined fellow panel member Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other lawmakers at a news conference. Pitts said he and others would offer a series of amendments that would protect people from being forced into plans that cover abortion, once negotiations resume in Energy and Commerce, possibly on Thursday.
“Without a specific exclusion, abortion will be determined to be included in these benefit standards and will be forced on Americans all across the country,” Pitts said. Similar amendments offered in the Ways and Means and the Education and Labor committees—two other panels with jurisdiction over the bill—were rejected.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has expressed an interest in finding a “neutral provision” on the abortion issue. Healthcare reform, Baucus clarified to reporters, “is not about that issue at all.”