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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – About 65,000 Americans have signed a national petition in just one week calling on Congress to exclude abortion as a mandatory health benefit as part of any health care legislation being considered, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced yesterday.  The ACLJ, which specializes in constitutional law, is providing legal analysis to House members urging them to reject the abortion mandate.
 
“The American people understand that mandatory coverage for abortion services should not be a part of any health care legislation,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.  “The opposition to defining abortion services as a mandatory health benefit is clear. 

“It's time that Congress gets the message: When it comes to mandatory health benefits, Americans don't want their tax dollars used – or force private insurance plans – to fund abortion.  We will continue to push for a legislative remedy that explicitly excludes abortion from any government mandated coverage or taxpayer funded health plan.”
 
The ACLJ says they received some 65,000 signatures from Americans in its nationwide petition campaign launched one week ago – with more than 55,000 people adding their name online.  (The online petition is available here.)
 
In their legal analysis of the health bill addressed to the U.S. House of Representatives, the ACLJ points out that legal precedent concerning Medicaid has frequently interpreted terms such as “inpatient services,” “outpatient services” and “physician's services” to include abortion.  Therefore, said the law group, “it is vital that any health care reform plan explicitly exclude abortion services from any national health care coverage mandate.” 

The memo also noted that language against abortion in the bill must also “protect both private insurers from having to provide coverage for abortion and ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to pay for abortion.”
 
In addition to leaving open taxpayer funds for abortions, the ACLJ warns that the pro-abortion health-care push could jeopardize existing state abortion laws as well.
 
“Congress must make clear that any reform passed will not preempt and invalidate state laws regulating abortion,” said the group.  “Portions of the proposal would allow the federal plan and its administrators to determine that state laws restricting abortion, such as parental notification laws or informed consent laws, 'prevent the application of a requirement' of the plan.

“In such instances the requirements of state law would be preempted. Such an outcome needs to be avoided and state laws respected.”
 
(The ACLJ memo on the House legislative action is posted here.)

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