Today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act was certainly disappointing for people in the pro-life movement. However, short of the law being struck down in full, many of the problems that pro-lifers have with it would have likely remained. Pro-lifers are rightfully concerned about taxpayer subsidies for health-insurance plans that cover abortion. They have concerns about conscience protections for both health-care providers and employers. And if abortion is deemed a federal health benefit, there are concerns that this could invalidate or weaken some state-level pro-life laws.
Today’s ruling included a few silver linings for pro-lifers:
2. The Supreme Court set limits on the requirement that states expand their Medicaid programs. The long-term implications of this aspect of the ruling are uncertain. However, if states enact their own conscience protections or their own limits on abortion funding, this ruling likely makes it much more difficult for the federal government to retaliate by withholding Medicaid funding.
3. This decision may actually make it easier to prevent federal funding of abortion in the future. Remember, the mandate has been ruled a tax, and senators cannot filibuster a bill passed under “budget reconciliation.” As such, a future Senate would need just 51 votes (50 with a Republican vice president) to ban Obamacare from funding insurance plans that include abortion. Due to the interlocking nature of the various funding streams and mandates, this might have the implication of preventing abortion coverage in a vast majority of private health-insurance plans.