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Federal Refusal Clause

The Federal Refusal Clause permits health care companies to forbid doctors from providing, giving accurate information, or referring patients for abortion care.

Section 508: None of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to a Federal agency or program, or to a State or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

(2) In this subsection, the term 'health care entity' includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.

Here are some ways the clause affects providers:

  1. State and local governments must choose between enforcing their own abortion funding laws or forfeiting billions of dollars of federal funding for health, education, and numerous other programs.
  2. The Title X program is undermined. Current federal law requires federally funded family planning facilities to provide full options counseling including information about abortion and referrals upon request; these may no longer be requirements for receipt of federal funds.
  3. Medicaid coverage for abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment is in jeopardy. HMOs that provide Medicaid care for low-income women may be allowed to claim "discrimination" and elect not to cover abortions required to be funded currently under the Hyde Amendment.

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