Abortion Coverage Is in Healthcare Reform

Michael Gerson writes in today’s Washington Post on the Healthcare Bill making its way through the House:

“Those who support the Senate bill are participating in what is effectively the largest expansion of federal involvement in abortion since the Hyde Amendment limited that role in 1976.”

Gerson is right on the money in this statement. Nevertheless, there are some who are claiming that the Senate bill doesn’t cover abortions.

Ruth Marcus, for instance, argues that abortions will decrease under the Senate Bill and that there isn’t that much difference between the House and Senate bills. But here’s a question she cannot answer with credibility. If there isn’t very much difference, then why is the pro-abortion lobby (Planned Parenthood, NOW, etc.) moving heaven and earth to keep the Senate Bill as is without the Stupak restrictions on abortion?

The bottom line is this. The American people overwhelmingly oppose tax-payer funded abortions. Therefore, supporters of this bill are doing everything they can to conceal the fact that it funds abortions. Don’t be deceived.

If you haven’t called your representative yet, call now and tell him/her to oppose this bill.


  • Ben

    I’ve contacted my representative, but I fear it will do no good, because most of the representatives will not read the bill, and do not care if abortions are funded, irrespective of their constituencies views.

    This is from the website of my representative:
    “believe that universal health care coverage is the civil rights issue of our time. The need for safe, affordable health care is an issue that affects us all…I find it unconscionable that in a country as great as ours, 46 million Americans are uninsured including nearly nine million children.”

    This hints to me that my representative finds it more important to cover the 46 million who are uninsured (though not necessarily without access to exorbitantly expensive health care) than to care for the unborn.

    There is much that could be said about this, but ultimately, I’m disenfranchised from my political party of choice (Republican) because we/they allowed themselves to get to such a point where the voice of opposition to abortion was a minority in our government. Let’s face it – compromising so we can “win” this fight is much more important than the lesser issues republicans have fought and over which we became unpopular, and then lost the ability to block taxpayer funded abortions.

    Okay. I’m done with my rant now.

  • El Bryan Libre

    Why does the pro-abortion lobby need to move heaven and earth to keep the Stupak ammendment out of the Senate bill if it’s not even something that could be added at this point through reconcilliation? I wasn’t even aware that they were moving heaven and earth to do so. Is there a link to a news story you might be able to provide?

    I mentioned in your last post on the topic that I couldn’t tell how the House version of the Bill would do more than the Senate bill to prevent federal funding of abortions and the arguments from those that say it would haven’t been that clear. Unfortunately I didn’t get a response. I’f you have an opportunity maybe you can show me what part of the arguments you find convincing or point to some language differences in the bill. Thanks.

  • John Holmberg

    Denny (and others),

    If the alleged “pro-abortion” language were not in the bill, and you beyond a shadow of a doubt knew that the bill would not allow tax-funded abortions, then would you be for the bill? Do you think we need healthcare reform? Why or why not?

  • Denny Burk

    El Bryan Libre,

    Yes, pro-life legislators were trying to attach the Stupak amendment to the reconciliation bill, but it failed on Monday in the House Budget Committee. Here’s a report on what happened: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/house_budget_committee_shoots_down_inclusion_of_stupak_amendment_in_reconciliation/.

    As to your second point, the Senate bill allows federal subsidies — that is, federal assistance for lower income people — to be used to purchase health insurance plans that cover elective abortions. Enrollees would have to make two payments: one for abortion coverage and one for the rest of the premium, and the company would be required to segregate the funds. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-Calif., a strong supporter of the bill and of abortion rights, calls it an “accounting procedure.” The bill requires “insurance exchanges” in each state to offer at least one insurance plan that covers abortion and one insurance plan that does not, although states would be allowed to opt out and not offer the abortion plan.

    Because more women would have abortion coverage as part of their insurance plans, the procedure would become far more accessible and affordable. In other words, women who for various reasons (for instance, financial) currently don’t have abortion coverage will have it if the Senate bill becomes law. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, said the bill would “significantly increase access to reproductive health care.”
    Source: http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=32515

    Hope that’s helpful.


  • Denny Burk


    I think Christians can in good conscience disagree over healthcare reform. There are some Christians who favor a larger governmental role in healthcare, and some who don’t. I don’t want to make hay about that. I’m primarily concerned about the expansion of abortion that will take place once this bill is passed. That is why I am opposing it in this public forum. Abortion is a non-negotiable for me, and we have to prevent the legalization of tax-payer funded abortions.


  • David Vinzant

    Catholic nuns say: “despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.”

    Below is the full letter.

    – – – – –

    Dear Members of Congress:

    We write to urge you to cast a life-affirming “yes” vote when the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) comes to the floor of the House for a vote as early as this week. We join the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), which represents 1,200 Catholic sponsors, systems, facilities and related organizations, in saying: the time is now for health reform AND the Senate bill is a good way forward.

    As the heads of major Catholic women’s religious order in the United States, we represent 59,000 Catholic Sisters in the United States who respond to needs of people in many ways. Among our other ministries we are responsible for running many of our nation’s hospital systems as well as free clinics throughout the country.

    We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor. We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment.

    The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all. It will invest in preventative care. It will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children. And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.

    Congress must act. We are asking every member of our community to contact their congressional representatives this week. In this Lenten time, we have launched nationwide prayer vigils for health care reform. We are praying for those who currently lack health care. We are praying for the nearly 45,000 who will lose their lives this year if Congress fails to act. We are also praying for you and your fellow Members of Congress as you complete your work in the coming days. For us, this health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.

    We urge you to vote “yes” for life by voting yes for health care reform in H.R. 3590.


  • El Bryan Libre

    Thank you for the link to the CNA news story and the Baptist press article.

    I’m still not sure that even if they wanted to add the amendment to the reconciliation bill (and the vote Monday was only for recommendations and wasn’t what would actually go into the reconciliation bill) that they could. Considering that there is already a consensus that the bill doesn’t allow federal funds to be used for abortion that means adding the amendment wouldn’t significantly reduce the deficit and therefor it isn’t an eligible amendment.

    Not only that but the Democrats voted down everything the Republicans put forward and it seems they just considered their proposed amendments to be stunts or political gimmics of some sort. Some of the amendments they proposed:

    1. Prevent Government from Interfering with Doctor-Patient Relationship
    2. Put the Federal Government on a Sustainable Fiscal Path First
    3. No Medicare Cuts to Pay for a New Entitlement
    4. Prevent Government from Limiting Choice and Competition
    6. No Raising Taxes During a Recession
    8. Require Up-to-Date Estimate on Full Cost of Bill
    9. No Raising Health Insurance Premiums
    10. Eliminate New Bureaucracies Devoted to Expanding the Federal Government

    Regarding the subsidies and what makes the Senate bill unacceptable, your view seems to be that more abortions will take place because more women will have access to health care plans that provide them because the government gives them money to afford that insurance plan? And because they’re able to afford those health care plans with subsidies provided by tax payer money then that means we are responsible for more abortions? Is that correct?

    Wouldn’t that make tax payers responsible for every immoral thing someone does with money that the government gives them? Wouldn’t that make us individually responsible for every immoral act done with money that comes from us (for instance a business we spend money at pays their employee with that money who then goes out and has an abortion with that money or buys drugs, or something else)?

    Whether what the Senate does is just an accounting trick I’m not sure. If so then does that mean that hospital that provide abortions and receive federal money are causing us to fund abortions through our tax dollars as well (Rep. John Yarmuth raised this point at the reconciliation markup on Monday)? Does that mean we shouldn’t give hospitals tax dollars? Similarly, does that mean that when the government gives different churches and religious groups tax dollars for social programs that they’re also funding evangelism or other activities of those churches and religious groups? Does that mean we’re supporting those things since it’s our tax dollars?

    Thanks again for the links. The last one especially helped clear up what the main objection was to the Senate bill.

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