Friday, October 9, 2009

Will the Democrats Ram Through a Health Care Bill That Uses Federal Funds to Fund Abortion?

Some of us have suspected very strongly for months that has been the intent all along. That the Freedom of Choice Act dropped off the legislative radar with nary a peep of protest from the pro-abortion lobby groups like Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, and NOW is a suspicious fact that makes one think that there must be plan to achieve the same goals by other means. The fact that over a dozen pro-life ammendments designed to make H.R. 3200 abortion neutral have been voted down in various committees leads one to think that Obama is being disingenuous to insist that "his" health care plan (whatever that is - he has never put forward a bill or endorsed a specific bill) won't allow public funds to pay for abortion.

The Roman Catholic Bishops are getting restless: Here is a recent story in which they warn that they will vigorously oppose any bill that fails to meet their three top criteria:
"The U.S. Catholic bishops sent an open letter to Congress today, stating
that they will “vigorously oppose” the health care bills unless they prevent
taxpayer funds from paying for abortion, make care affordable for everyone and
ensure that immigrants have access to the health system.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop William Murphy and Bishop John Wester
penned the letter on behalf of all the U.S. bishops to "express our
disappointment that progress has not been made on the three priority criteria
for health care reform that we have conveyed previously to Congress.""

The really fascinating thing about this statement is that they are saying that currently proposed legislation does not address any of their three top priorities! The current legislation would still leave tens of millions without health insurance. So even if the abortion issue were cleared up (which it is not), they still would have to oppose it. It is a mystery to me and a wonder that, after all this hassle and fighting, the bill being proposed still does not cover everyone.

The White House continues to repeat the now-refuted old chestnut that the Hyde Ammendment somehow applies to H.R. 3200 when it does not.
"White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is erroneously claiming that the
Hyde Amendment which restricts federal funding for abortions will apply to
federal health care reform legislation, the National Right to Life Committee has

At a Wednesday press briefing at the White House, Cybercast News
Service reporter Fred Lucas asked Gibbs whether a letter from the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was right to say that health care reform
proposals have not met the president’s promise to bar the use of federal funds
for abortion.

“Well, I don't want to get me in trouble at church, but I would mention
there's a law that precludes the use of federal funds for abortion that isn't
going to be changed in these health care bills,” Gibbs responded."

Memo to Gibbs: You are in trouble at church; the only question is whether you are going to get out of trouble or not.

On his blog "God and Country" Dan Gilgoff interviews Rep. Bart Stupak, the democratic congressman leading the fight to get abortion funding out of health care legislation and Stupak clears up the fog. Stupak is talking about a recent phone conversation he had with President Obama.
Q. "How does the president feel about your stance that no government subsidized health insurance plan should include abortion coverage?

A. I brought up the fact that when he spoke to the nation on September 9 he said, "Let me verify one more rumor, that there will be no public funding for abortion." And so I asked him to clarify that because it's sort of the opposite of H.R. 3200 [the House healthcare bill]. And he indicated to me that yes, he understands that and when he talked about that line [in his speech] he said "my plan." But the president has not put forth a plan, so it wasn't really clear.

And so my question was, was he just reading H.R. 3200 and was he not briefed on the Capps Amendment [on abortion coverage], and he said, "No, no, I know the Capps Amendment."

Q. Does the president believe that the Capps Amendment prohibits federally-funded abortions, as pro-choice advocates claim, or that that prohibition is a disingenuous accounting trick, as antiabortion advocates claim?

A. The president did not get into the argument whether the Capps Amendment covers abortions or not. He never went there. He just said, "We have enough other arguments going on with the bill, let's work this one out."

Q. So what do you see as the path to resolving the abortion debate—to "working this out"— in the Democratic Caucus?

A. Unfortunately, I don't see a clear resolution right now. Maybe some language can be drafted that I haven't seen yet that will accommodate everybody. But I'm going to go back to what the president said: no public funding for abortions. And that's the Hyde Amendment [the longstanding ban on federally funded abortions]. So let's have the Hyde Amendment. I'm prepared to go to the Rules Committee and offer the Hyde Amendment. I'm not too sure I'll get very far because no right-to-life amendments have been made to order all year."

The following series of questions and answers from the same interview makes Robert Gibbs' evasive answers look like deliberate deception.

Q. "The pro-choice community argues that the Capps Amendment applies the
spirit of the Hyde Amendment to the House healthcare bill by barring federally
funded abortions in almost all instances.

A. The Capps Amendment says at least one plan [participating in a federal
health insurance exchange] must provide abortion coverage and must have
one that doesn't have it. For the first time ever, federal policy is saying that
abortion is a covered service. That's completely opposite of Hyde. Second, if
I'm in the public plan, I have to give one dollar per month [to abortion
coverage]. I'm a man, and I can't get an abortion, but I have to pay for it.
Those are two major differences from Hyde.

Q. What about the Capps Amendment language stipulating that federal funds
must be segregated from individual premiums in funding abortion coverage?

A. All that is just a mirage. On the D.C. appropriations bill, we used to
have the Dornan language, which said you cannot use federal dollars to pay for
[abortions] in D.C. We gave them operating funds, and what we said in Dornan is you had to segregate it.

[The Democratic leadership] will not give us that language anymore. They denied
us that. So if they were really committed to this firewall, as the pro-choice
people say, then why not put in the Dornan language we've had for the last 15 or
16 years? They have denied us every right-to-life amendment. There's just a
lack of trust there. We don't believe it. How does the saying go? Fool me once,
shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I won't get fooled twice.

Q. The pro-choice community says that, as many women move from
employer-based plans to those participating in the health insurance exchange,
which you'd bar from offering abortion coverage, they'll lose a benefit that
most currently have.

A. They don't lose the right, they've just lost the right to use my tax
dollars to pay for abortion. They still have that right, and there are millions
of women who are on Medicaid, Medicare, the federal employees' health benefit
package—which does not provide abortion services—who go and get an abortion.
They have to use their own money, that's all. That's current law."

All this intricate "what does the technical language mean" type of debate is difficult for the general public to follow. And one suspects that there is design at work is this.

But what is difficult to square here is Obama's clear promise of no federal funding for abortion and a strong conscience clause for health care professionals and the refusal of Congress to insert the necessary ammendments for that promise to be kept. Are we supposed to believe that Obama will veto this bill when it lands on his desk? Will he twist arms at the last moment to get the necessary language inserted? Or will the Democrats play good cop -bad cop until the opposition is worn down and the bill slips through by the slimmest of magins? Or is Obama just so incredibly weak that he prevent his own party from embarassing him by making a liar out of him?

If the Democrats ram through federally-funded abortion under the guise of "health care reform" they will reveal themselves to be cynical, deceptive proponents of the culture of death, rather than "common-good" minded reformers.

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