On Friday, November 19th, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District court in Pensacola, Florida, on behalf of 63 members of congress and more than 70,000 individuals to fight the Obama healthcare legislation that was signed into law in March 2010. This brief supports the lawsuit filed earlier this year by 20 state attorneys general, arguing that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare, is in direct violation of the U.S. constitution. The claim is that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate that all U.S. citizens purchase health insurance. Expanded tax-payer funded abortions are a potential consequence of this law as well as the individual mandate that forces some to pay into health insurance plans that sponsor abortions. There is also fear that under the new law, health care would have to be rationed in order to extend the coverage to many more people.
As feared, Obama’s political maneuvering to gain the votes of Pro-life members of the House was deceptive; it appears that ObamaCare will, directly or indirectly, use tax dollars to pay for abortions. The new law violates an element of the “Hyde Amendment.” However, Hyde does not apply, since Obamacare is financed outside of Health & Human Services appropriations. The amendment states that there will be no federal funding of insurance plans that provide abortions. The abortion “restriction” placed in the ObamaCare law states that subsidies will go to insurance providers, not the individual, and that the abortions would be paid from a pool created by mandatory monthly payments by insurees. However, Hyde is not permanent and is subject to renewal every year.
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, stated, “It’s our hope that the legal challenges – coupled with a growing sentiment in Congress to derail the health care law – will ensure that ObamaCare is never implemented.” With that in mind, when the U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench in 1983 by President Reagan, allotted all interested parties just one week to submit amicus briefs for the legal challenge of Obamacare, the willing parties complied.
The amicus brief states that if the law is upheld as constitutional, there is nothing that can stop congress from expanding the powers of the law. This would then allow for the massive federal funding of abortions. The brief is being backed by major Pro-Life advocates including, but not limited to, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), incoming Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Ron Paul (R-TX), Mike Pence (R-IN), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Tom Price (R-GA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Joe Wilson (R-SC).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also filed a brief with the district judge in Pensacola warning that unless Obamacare is deemed unconstitutional, it will mean that Congress has no set limits on what it can legislate. That means an anti-life majority in Congress could force through pro-abortion and end of life legislation without so much as a single vote. Newly elected Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), has also filed to support the legal fight against Obamacare.
A different case, filed in Virginia by Liberty University, has been refused. The Pro-Life group from the university filed the case stating that the law contains no provisions fully eliminating taxpayer funded abortions. The judge in the case, Jude Norman Moon, appointed by Clinton in the 1990s, decided against the Pro-Life group who pointed out the dozens of ways abortions could be funded under ObamaCare, because there are no provisions to keep taxpayer funded abortions from being implemented. However, Moon stated that, “The Act explicitly states that no plan is required to cover any form of abortion services.”
Another Virginia judge from the Eastern District heard arguments in October from Pro-Life Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia has deemed the part of ObamaCare that requires abortion funding unconstitutional. Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden of the Alliance Defense Fund, the Pro-Life legal group, weighed in on the decision: “No one should be forced to pay for an unconstitutional federal takeover of health care that will funnel taxpayer dollars into the pockets of abortionists and lead inevitably toward death panels for the elderly and infirm. Congress showed blatant disregard for the Constitution, and that’s the pivotal issue here.”
The decisions will be made by separate district judges; however, all the cases will be compiled and eventually be brought before the Supreme Court.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is against ObamaCare and hopes to see Texas opt out of the new healthcare law if it is not deemed unconstitutional by a Supreme Court ruling. In an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Governor Perry spoke about ObamaCare and how Texas would be affected, “This federalized Washington health care now may not work. Matter of fact, we know it won't work well in Texas.” Perry insists that turning the health care issue over to the states would benefit the states and the citizens as well.
Oral arguments for the case in Florida began on December 16th.
As the cases begin and the long battle ensues, the fight for Life should never take a back seat. The outcome of these court cases will be historic, whichever way the gavel falls, but the mission for Life will not change.