Clark Forsythe is the author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade. That book examines the Supreme Court’s behind-the-scenes deliberations leading up to the landmark abortion ruling. Thursday I spoke with him about one aspect of the Obamacare fight that is getting lost in the government shutdown.
I asked, what’s really at stake in the fight over funding Obamacare?
“What’s at stake in funding…is whether the HHS mandate continues.” That’s the contraception mandate, which has been taken to court over religious objections by both businesses including Hobby Lobby and religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor. “I believe [Obamacare] will undermine quality healthcare in the United States. The basic problem with health care being taken over by the federal government is that it becomes a budget item. Things get cut. What gets cut depends on who’s in control.”
An even more disturbing aspect of Obamacare is its dramatic impact on federal funding of abortion.
“It happens in a number of ways. There are a number of different mechanisms and it gets quite complicated, but the fact is, people who pay into certain plans will have to pay no less than a dollar for abortion, and that will be one way to get the funds from individuals — largely without their knowledge.” Forsythe said that training is already underway among insurers to hide this premium, spearheaded by the national Women’s Law Project.
Forstythe says it’s difficult to say exactly how many abortions would be funded via Obamacare, but a study found that as many as one in 12 abortions would be subsidized by the federal government. That means between 100,000 and 115,000 abortions would be federally subsidized every year due to Obamacare.
The stealth subsidy was designed so that it doesn’t violate previous laws regarding federal funding of abortion, such as the Hyde Amendment.
“The Hyde Amendment is an annual appropriations rider, not a permanent law. It only limits appropriations that go through the Labor/HHS bill, that’s a very specific funding stream. Obamacare is funded outside the Labor/HHS appropriations. It completely bypasses the Hyde Amendment. And so the fact that Hyde remains in effect, technically, is completely irrelevant to the Obamacare funding streams.”
So is stopping Obamacare the only way to stop the abortion subsidy?
“Obamacare certainly needs to be repealed. Congress could pass bills to apply Hyde, but they haven’t been taken up and would be rejected by the president.”
Forsythe’s book, released September 24, 2013, gives an inside account of what happened, behind the scenes, leading up to the Roe v. Wade decision. The most important book written about Roe since Roe, it is based on the papers from 8 of the 9 Supreme Court justices involved. Only Chief Justice Warren Burger’s papers were not included, because they remain sealed. Burger’s papers are set to be released in 2025.