GOP House Whip: Executive Order Can't Override Abortion Law

House Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor released a collection of statements this afternoon showing any executive order President Obama makes on abortion cannot override a law duly passed by Congress.

Democrats had been talking of using an executive order to prohibit federal funding of abortion, since it is not included in the Senate health care bill the House is currently trying to pass.  Several House Democrats are refusing to vote for the bill unless there is a safeguard against federal funding of abortions.

Cantor’s office cited several Supreme Court rulings and the opinion of several pro life organizations explaining why any attempt to fix the abortion problem in the health care bill through executive order won’t hold up:

US Conference of Catholic Bishops: “No regulation, policy letter from HRSA, or other executive action can withstand a statutory mandate, construed by federal courts applying a constitutional decision on abortion.”

National Right to Life Committee: “If the [Senate] bill is signed into law, these statutory requirements and defects are not subject to correction or nullification by the chief executive or his appointees, whether by Executive Order, regulation, or otherwise.”

Americans United for Life: “The proposal to address the problem of abortion funding in the health care bill through use of an Executive Order is a tacit acknowledgment that the bill as it stands is pro-abortion legislation … [I]t also does not succeed in application. An Executive Order cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions from participating in the exchanges.  Further, Executive Orders can be undone or modified as quickly as they are created.  This is a blatant attempt to subvert democracy and should be quickly quashed.”

Family Research Council warns against the promise of: “an Executive Order (EO) that would magically fix the fact that the Senate bill (H.R. 3590) would spend government funds to pay for elective abortions. Further, the Reconciliation bill will make matters worse by increasing funding for community health centers, which will bypass any abortion funding restrictions in appropriations bills because it is directly appropriated. Both taken together will fund abortion, regardless of any EO.”

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser has also issued a statement against an executive order solution:

"An executive order on abortion funding would do nothing to fix the problems presented by the current health care reform legislation that the House is considering today. The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress.  An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President’s whim.  The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders.