Anti-abortion groups press for change to ObamaCare bills

Anti-abortion groups press for change to ObamaCare bills
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More than 50 anti-abortion groups are calling on Congress to amend an ObamaCare stabilization bill to ensure that federal funding doesn't go to plans that cover abortions. 

Led by the Susan B. Anthony List, the groups are pressuring lawmakers to vote against the bill, sponsored by Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (D-Wash.), that would reimburse insurance companies for giving discounted deductibles and copays to low-income customers. 

These subsides are called cost-sharing reductions, and ObamaCare already states that this funding can't go toward plans that cover abortions. 

But anti-abortion groups have long argued the existing language isn't strong enough and are asking that the bill be changed to include the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding from covering abortions. 

The Hyde amendment covers Medicaid and other programs under the Department of Health and Human Services. 

"Any Member voting for the Alexander-Murray proposal, or other Obamacare stabilization legislation not covered by the Hyde amendment, would not only be voting to sustain what many have called the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade, but would also be voting to directly appropriate taxpayer dollars for insurance that includes elective abortion," the groups wrote in a letter to lawmakers Tuesday. 

The groups said they would also oppose any spending package that includes the bill if it isn't amended to include Hyde protections.

It's widely expected that the Senate will include the ObamaCare stabilization bill in a funding package that will be needed to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday.

The anti-abortion groups also warned against voting for another health-care bill expected to be included in the package.

That bill, authored by Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida MORE (D-Fla.) would provide states billions of dollars to help insurers with the costs of covering high-risk, expensive patients. 

This bill isn't covered by the Hyde amendment. 

The letter puts pressure on Republicans in the House who might be supportive of the ObamaCare bills but would typically be wary of going against the anti-abortion groups. 

Democrats, however, would likely oppose these changes, arguing they would further restrict access to abortion. 

With a slim Republican majority in the Senate, Democratic support is needed to pass any spending bill there.