[JURIST] US President Barack Obama signed an executive order [text] Wednesday continuing a prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion [JURIST news archive] except in cases of rape or incest or where a woman's life would be endangered. Some anti-abortion congressional Democrats insisted on the order [AP report] as a condition for their support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [HR 3590 materials], which Obama signed into law [JURIST report] Tuesday. NARAL Pro-Choice America [advocacy website] President Nancy Keenan called anti-abortion Democrats' insistence on the executive order "deeply disappointing" [press release], saying that women's reproductive rights were being used as a bargaining chip. National Right to Life [advocacy website], meanwhile, called the executive order "meaningless," saying "it changes nothing" and fails [press release] "to correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill."
The passage of the health care reform bill has been extremely controversial. The same day that the bill was signed into law, the attorneys general (AGs) for 13 states filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the new law [JURIST report]. Last week, Idaho Governor CL Otter signed into law [JURIST report] a bill banning a federal mandate that citizens purchase health insurance. Earlier in March, the Virginia legislature passed a similar bill [JURIST report] that Governor Bob McDonald has indicated he will sign. The AGs who filed suit Tuesday originally threatened the action in December, after the Senate passed its version [JURIST reports] of the health care overhaul bill.