from the Family Research Council
Debate over health care reform and funding abortion continues, and today we expected votes on amendments in the Financial Services Committee to keep abortion coverage out of Senator Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) health care bill, but the vote was delayed until next week. While the President said that under his plan the government would not fund abortions, the Baucus bill explicitly includes abortion and would subsidize health plans that cover all elective abortions. Such subsidies for plans covering abortion goes well beyond the status quo of preventing federal funds either from paying for abortion or subsidizing plans that cover abortion, as under current laws governing Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan and the State Children's Health Insurance Plan. The Capps amendment inserted government funding of abortion into the House bill, and now the Baucus bill would add abortion as well.
If government-subsidized abortion is to be excluded, and conscience protections for health providers who object to abortion are to be maintained, then Senators on the Finance Committee should simply adopt Senator Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) amendments. His amendments would prevent funding for abortion consistent with the Hyde Amendment without precluding women from purchasing abortion policies that are separate from any government subsidized plan. Women wanting abortion insurance coverage would have a choice to purchase it, a choice supposedly essential for all women.
We oppose abortion, but in this health care debate, this amendment would ensure that the government, as under current law, does not endorse abortion. Senator Hatch's other amendment would simply protect current conscience laws when it comes to preventing the government from discriminating against health plans and providers who object to abortion.
If President Obama does not intend for his proposed health care reform to expand government-funded abortion then he should get on the phone with Sen. Baucus and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and make sure they support these Hatch amendments unequivocally. Senator Orrin Hatch is calling their bluff.
That is if he intends to keep his word to Catholics that his health care plan does not include abortions.
Don't stay awake waiting.