Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama Accuses Christians of "Bearing False Witness" About Health Care and Abortion

In a conference call organized by liberal faith groups, Barack Obama accused Christians of lying by spreading lies about health care reform. On that call Obama said:

"We’ve heard that this is all designed to provide health insurance to illegal aliens. That’s not true. There’s a specific provision in the bill that does not provide health insurance for those individuals. You’ve heard that there’s a government takeover of health care. That’s not true. You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true. This is all, these are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation, and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper."

So who has been saying that the proposed health care reform bill will result in abortion being paid for by public funds? Only the Roman Catholic Church plus representatives of a broad swath of Evangelical Christians.

Here is what Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said recently in a letter to every member of Congress:

"[The House Commerce and Energy Committee] created a legal fiction, a paper separation between federal funding and abortion: Federal funds will subsidize the public plan, as well as private health plans that include abortion on demand; but anyone who purchases these plans is required to pay a premium out of his or her own pocket (specified in the Act to be at least $1.00 a month) to cover all abortions beyond those eligible for federal funds under the current Hyde amendment. Thus some will claim that federal taxpayer funds do not support abortion under the Act.

But this is an illusion. Funds paid into these plans are fungible, and federal taxpayer funds will subsidize the operating budget and provider networks that expand access to abortions. Furthermore, those constrained by economic necessity or other factors to purchase the "public plan" will be forced by the federal government to pay directly and specifically for abortion coverage. This is the opposite of the policy in every other federal health program. Government will force low-income Americans to subsidize abortions for others (and abortion coverage for themselves) even if they find abortion morally abhorrent.

Please consider the broader context. No federal program mandates coverage for elective abortions, or subsidizes health plans that include such abortions. Most Americans do not want abortion in their health coverage, and most consider themselves "pro-life," with a stronger majority among low-income Americans. About 80 percent of all hospitals do not generally provide abortions, and 85 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. By what right, then, and by what precedent, would Congress make abortion coverage into a nationwide norm, or force Americans to subsidize it as a condition for participating in a public health program?"

Here is what a broadly-based coalition of Evangelical and pro-life groups and individuals (for a complete list click here) are saying:

"Question: Won’t the Hyde Amendment and Capps Compromise prohibit tax payer funded abortions?

Answer: On July 30, the House Energy and Commerce Committee added to H.R. 3200 an amendment written by staff to Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and offered by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.), both of whom have consistently pro-abortion career voting records. This “phony compromise” explicitly authorizes the “public plan” to cover all abortions. This would drastically change longstanding federal policy. This means that any citizen who wants to take advantage of the public plan will be compelled to purchase coverage for abortion on demand. The federal agency will collect the premium money, receive bills from abortionists, and send the abortionists payment checks from a federal Treasury account. It is a sham to pretend that this does not constitute funding of abortion. If this passes, the federal government will be running a nationwide abortion-on-demand insurance plan.

Under H.R. 3200 as amended by the Capps Amendment, some private plans may elect not to include abortion, but private plans that cover elective abortion will be federally subsidized. Both bills provide funds for the new premium-subsidy program through a new funding pipeline that would not be subject to the Hyde Amendment, which is merely a year-to-year provision that currently prevents federal funding of abortions in the Medicaid program. As the Associated Press accurately reported in its August 5, 2009, analysis, “A law called the Hyde amendment applies the [abortion] restrictions to Medicaid . . . The [Obama-backed] health overhaul would create a stream of federal funding not covered by the restrictions.”

Further, there is no doubt whatever that the Obama Administration would immediately use the Capps authorization to cover elective abortions in the public plan. On July 17, 2007, Barack Obama appeared before the annual conference of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Speaking of his plans for “health care reform,” Obama said, “In my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose.” He also stated that, “What we’re doing is to say that we’re gonna set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It’ll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.”

So, who is lying? Factcheck.org has not been kind to some claims made by the pro-life movement about Obama's radicalism and has tended to swallow his side of the story on other issues. However, on this issue, they have this to say:

"Will health care legislation mean "government funding of abortion"?

President Obama said Wednesday that’s "not true" and among several "fabrications" being spread by "people who are bearing false witness." But abortion foes say it’s the president who’s making a false claim. "President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component" of health care legislation, said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. So which side is right?

The truth is that bills now before Congress don’t require federal money to be used for supporting abortion coverage. So the president is right to that limited extent. But it’s equally true that House and Senate legislation would allow a new "public" insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them. Obama has said in the past that "reproductive services" would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that. Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the "public plan" would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it. Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions "fabrications.""

For the Factcheck analysis, click here.

My Analysis:

Obama is accusing Christians of doing what he and his adminstration actually are doing. He is brazenly trying to hide behind a technicality most people don't understand, and those who do don't accept, in order to pretend that he is not expanding access to abortion through his so-called "public option." This is using a mis-leading half-truth to deceive.

This is part of an overall pattern of deception by which Obama is trying to do what worked so well in the election campaign and peel off a few votes from Evangelicals and Catholics by giving people who are inclined to support him except for his abortion extremism a fig leaf behind which to hide. This worked when he was running against George Bush; but it is not working now that he is actually governing and not just campaigning. His moderate rhetoric won't do him much good in 2012 when matched up against his extreme record. And the discrepancy between the smooth talk and the radical action is making more and more people disillusioned as time goes on.

It is important to understand that when claims are made that religion is important to the Obama administration and that Obama seeks support from the faith community, the reality is that Obama is the liberal president, not the Evangelical or Catholic president. He is trying to seduce liberal Catholics away from the hierarchy and peel off a few "moderate" evangelicals. But his support is from theologically liberal Protestants and Catholics, not orthodox and evangelical ones. For him, religion is important as long as it is theologically liberal religion.

For Further Information:
The Health Care Website of the USCCB:

An article by Justin Cardinal Rigali called "Abortion is Not Health Care" http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=34294&page=2

Stop the Abortion Mandate:

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