The White House agreed Sunday to issue the order in return for support for the legislation from anti-abortion Democratic members of the House.
In a statement, White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the legislation Congress was preparing to vote on "maintains current law" on restricting federal funding of abortions but "the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."
The White House released the text of the executive order, which will not be signed until after the House votes Sunday. In the document, Obama says, "Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act … it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment."
The executive order notes the healthcare legislation requires health insurance exchanges to comply with prohibitions on abortion funding.
"The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014," the order states. "The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office."