Pro-life leaders have said all along that if abortion is not explicitly excluded from the new healthcare legislation, it will be included. Their critics challenge them to find it in the wording, saying it’s not there. It is, and they have.

If the government wants to assure the majority of Americans who don’t want their tax dollars to fund abortion that it won’t be mandated, why not state that clearly, ask these senators.

Responding to a new report that the 2010 health care law lacks restrictions that prohibit states from using federal funding to pay for abortions in the new high risk insurance pools, 13 Republican senators have written to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to urge regulatory action.

“We request your immediate assistance to ensure that federal dollars will not be used to pay for elective abortions,” the Senators’ July 28 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius read. They asked Sebelius to identify specific actions to be taken and to set a timeline for them by July 30.

The letter cited a July 23 memo from the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service (CRS). The Senators said abortion funding restrictions in the health care legislation and in President Barack Obama’s executive order “fail to address high risk pools and the $5 billion in funding provided for their operation.”

CNA spoke with Janine D’Addario of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) who confirmed the authenticity of the memo, pointing to the Senate Health Committee’s website for the “authoritative version.”

According to the CRS memo, the executive order does not “specifically” address the question of high-risk pools but directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the HHS Secretary to develop guidelines segregating federal funds from abortion funds.

Additionally, the CRS memo said that the HHS request for state proposals and the HHS model contracts “neither explicitly provide the authority to cover elective abortions with federal funds, nor do they specifically prohibit the use of federal funds.”

This is the reason you can’t find much good coverage out there clarifying what happened with that congressional action now that July 30 is up, or what the legislation really does say and mean and cover. Probably because few really know

It seems as if the regulation is an inverse Rorschach test, in which everyone sees not what they want, but the opposite of it. “[Health-care reform] is a 2,000 page law. There’s a dozen or more provisions that implicate abortion policy,” NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson explained to NEWSWEEK, “This was the first that we had to deal with, but there are the others down the road. Some will cover larger populations. What we wanted was the Stupak amendment that the House adopted. We think Congress needs to revisit it, so everything isn’t up for grabs. But that will require some change in the composition of Congress.”

And that’s a memo to everyone running for office or for re-election in the mid-terms.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....