Tuesday, July 28, 2009

LA Times: Next Hurdle in Healthcare "Debate" is Abortion

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Reporting from Washington -- With House leaders struggling to reach agreement on healthcare legislation, aiming toward a possible vote this week, a new hurdle has emerged: abortion.

Some conservative Democrats are threatening to pull their support from the massive healthcare bill unless their concerns over potential federal funding of abortion procedures are met. They fear that the Obama administration will take advantage of an expanded government role in healthcare to increase the availability of abortions nationwide.

If the House leadership's dispute with the Blue Dogs is resolved, abortion looms as the next sticking point. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and other Democrats opposed to abortion rights want to ensure that the bill includes language restricting taxpayer funds for the procedure.

The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, explicitly prevents the federal government from using tax dollars to fund abortion through Medicaid. But the reach of that law grows murkier if the government establishes its own competitive health insurance plan, or if it assists in creating a new market in which the public could sort through various private insurance plans. Both ideas could be included in the healthcare bill under consideration in Congress.

The Obama administration has tried to stay neutral on the matter.

"I think that it's appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings and not get distracted by the abortion debate," President Obama said in an interview with CBS News;photovideo last week.

When asked about abortion prohibitions in the bill, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said last week that "a benefit package is better left to experts in the medical field to determine how best and what procedures to cover."

That is precisely what worries antiabortion advocates.

"By being silent on this issue, [Obama is] actually making an affirmative statement in favor of taxpayer abortions," Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said.

As it stands, the House bill would create a Health Benefits Advisory Committee to prescribe which "essential benefits" should be offered in any government-supported insurance plan.

Opponents of abortion rights believe that unless there is specific wording to the contrary, abortion services will be included. "Unless you can specifically exclude abortion, it will be part of any federalized healthcare system," said Charmaine Yoest, executive director of Americans United for Life.

Efforts in other House committees to insert such prohibitions have failed. Stupak has vowed to push Waxman to include them in the version being written by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Stupak was one of 19 Democrats to write to Pelosi last month to say that they "cannot support any healthcare proposal unless it excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan."

My Comments:
Of course, we've been told by someone so much smarter (not to mention a so much more "complete Catholic") than the rest of us that, unless one otherwise thinks federal-government-provided health care is the best thing since sliced bread, objecting to the possibility of federally funded abortion as part of ObamaCare is "using the unborn to score a cheap political point".

The funny thing is that I have yet to see a strong denunciation by this allegedly "consistent ethic of life" blogger of the efforts to which the Democrat leadership have gone to keep Hyde Amendment language out of the various bills working their way through committee. If said blogger wants to deprive pro-lifers of an issue with which they might derail his precious health-care reform, then all he has to do is convince the pro-aborts on his side to add clear and unequivocal language that specifically excludes abortion from being federally funded.

(The problem is that said blogger knows that the Democrat leadership will never agree to such a thing, and, as with all the rest of his policy preferences, he is perfectly willing to sacrifice the unborn in pursuit of the rest of his agenda. A "distraction" from health-care reform, I believe his Dear Leader referred to the issue of abortion.)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Some Things Just Need Sayin'

Human Life Is More than a "Distraction"

Congressman Smith Warns Against Phony ‘Compromise’ on Abortion Mandates in ObamaCare

John Boehner: "Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Is Not Health-Care Reform"

Stop the Abortion Mandate

Dem Says Language Expressly Prohibiting Abortion Funding a Must in Health Care Bill [UPDATED]

Bishops Speak Out on ObamaCare

Apparently, the "Debate" is Over

Dems Propose Fake Pro-Life Bill That Increases Funding For Planned Parenthood

Catholic Politicians Continue to Advance Abortion Lobby Agenda

Pelosi Accused of Muzzling Opposition to Taxpayer-Funded D.C. Abortions

Obama Culture of Death Update™: White House Budget Director "Not Prepared to Rule Out" Publicly Funded Abortion as Part of ObamaCare

Human Events: "Abortion By Any Other Name Is In Health Care Bill"

Democrats for Life Give Boot to Ohio Congressman

Pro-Life Kudos to Michael Sean Winters

Chris Matthews: Obama Double-Crosses Pope; Abortion Coverage Could Jeopardize Health Reform [UPDATED]

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