Today’s rejection of an amendment to prohibit federal funds from “being used for elective abortions and plans that cover such abortions,” shows that health care bills under consideration fund abortion.
The amendment, brought by Senator Orin Hatch, would have allowed insurers to sell abortion coverage through separate supplemental policies not subsidized by federal funds. Federal subsidies for coverage of elective abortions are not currently allowed under Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, or other federal health programs. Failure to prevent funding “for elective abortions and plans that cover them” would be a drastic departure with longstanding federal policy.
The rejection of this amendment further validates various media reports that government funding of abortion is in the bill. The AP says “health overhaul would create a stream of federal funding not covered by the [Hyde] restrictions. FactCheck.org says, “Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans.”
Today’s actions undermine President Obama’s stern declaration that abortion would not be funded or subsidized by health care reform. It also shows that Nevada Senator Harry Reid is absolutely wrong when he promised listeners of his August 28, 2009 telephone town hall meeting that “The cost of such coverage would be exclusively paid by premiums, not by public subsidies.”
The same committee voted against another Hatch amendment codifying conscience protections for health care workers who oppose abortion. This amendment would have codified the Hyde-Weldon Amendment-a temporary law prohibiting any level of government from discriminating against health-care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions.
These actions, along with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee’s approval of a different health care bill (S. 1679) that contains provisions that would result in sweeping pro-abortion mandates and government subsidies for elective abortion, mean the combined Senate bill will contain provisions that would create pro-abortion federal mandates and huge federal abortion subsidies. Abortion is not healthcare. A health care system designed to save lives must not become a vehicle for taking lives through abortion.”
(Don Nelson is President of Nevada LIFE)