Crock of Ages: Sebelius Plays Ignorant on Abortion Funds

By Tony Perkins

If the White House told insurance execs to “keep quiet” about ObamaCare, they certainly listened when it came to abortion coverage. Yesterday, even the boss of the entire system, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, managed a surprised expression when Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) asked her why the agency was hiding coverage details from pro-lifers. Without skipping a beat, the HHS chief insisted she didn’t know what she so clearly knew in 2009, which is that ObamaCare is the biggest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion in U.S. history.

“I can’t tell you what I don’t know firmly right now,” Sebelius said. “… I will get that information.” Are we really supposed to believe that one of the most zealous abortion supporters in the Obama administration doesn’t know which plans cover the procedure she’s spent so much of her career advocating? That a woman who fought for late-term abortions in Kansas (and threw a Governor’s mansion party for the criminal performing them) would be in the dark after three years about whether the network she oversees is covering her pet cause? Give me a break.

Meanwhile, FRC’s Anna Higgins, whose new column confirmed what Sebelius would not, made such a splash in the media that D.C. officials called FRC to clarify their stance! In the piece, Anna, a resident of DC, talks about calling the exchange programs in the District and asking if their plans cover abortion. “Yes,” they all replied, because it’s listed as an “essential benefit” under ObamaCare. “So, there’s nothing I can do?” Anna asked. “I’m going to have to pay for abortion no matter what?” “Yes,” the woman told her.

Just hours after Anna’s piece started lighting up the web, a representative from the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange called Anna and profusely apologized for the “incorrect information” (which, interestingly enough, had been confirmed by every coverage supervisor Anna spoke to). He told her that all of Aetna private plans on the exchange are pro-life, as well as four other multi-state plans. Elective abortion coverage, he emphasized, is not — as Anna had been told — an “essential benefit.” The office was so intent on correcting their mistake that it even tweeted pro-lifers on the #BeTransparent hashtag to get everyone’s attention — even including a link to the updated FAQs on the website.

But just because there are pro-life plans in the District doesn’t mean there aren’t pro-abortion plans funded by taxpayers like you and me. The good news is that pro-lifers have choices, but the bad news is that those same pro-lifers are still funding abortion in the 27 states that haven’t opted out of abortion insurance. As nice as it would be to wall off the states that block abortion coverage, the reality is that the government’s money goes into a big health care pot that’s parceled out to all the states. That means a pro-lifer in Alabama may be funding abortions in Rhode Island — even if their own legislature outlawed it.

At the very least, Americans deserve to know which plans cover the procedure before they enroll. That’s the kind of clarification that Rep. Shimkus asked for — but never got — from Secretary Sebelius. And let’s face it: the onus shouldn’t be on citizens to force the government to comply with its law on taxpayer-funded abortion, it should be on HHS. (And don’t forget, funds are sure to flow to abortion through those “community health centers” too.)

If Secretary Sebelius won’t be forthcoming, Congress will be. To call the administration’s bluff, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) filed a bill, The Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, that demands HHS provide all the insurance details to exchange shoppers up front. He understands that when it comes to ObamaCare, what you don’t know can hurt you — and hundreds of thousands of unborn children too. Contact your congressman and ask him to cosponsor Smith’s bill!

This article first appeared in the e-newsletter, Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, on October 31, 2013.

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