Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Abortion Amendments Won't Appear in Health Care Bill

This report has been combined with excerpts from “Abortion Amendments Voted Down” by writer Adam Fowler, used by permission.

Pro-life advocates have faced two defeats in Congress concerning taxpayer dollars going for abortion. Amendments to abortion wording in the new health care bill were voted down in the week of October 5, and the Baucus Bill passed muster this week.

Current law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions except for rape, incest or the life of the mother. But the Baucus Bill will ensure that federal funds can be used to cover abortion by creating a different method of accounting. The method will permit taxpayer subsidies to go to private health plans that include abortion by giving those health plans the capability to label "private dollars" as those spent on abortions and "public dollars" as non-abortion dollars.

The first proposed abortion amendment would have inserted stronger language making it clear that abortion would never be covered under government-subsidized plans. The second amendment gave opt-out protections to health-care providers who object to providing certain procedures like abortion because of moral issues. Both amendments were voted down 13-10.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Finance Committee member who proposed the funding amendment, argued that the vote against the amendment leaves a worrisome ambiguity in the law that could lead to taxpayer funding of abortion.

Broad-stroke laws often have far-reaching effects which are initially unintended—or are they? Fowler’s article concludes the Baucus Bill adds to concerns that health care reform will eventually lead to government-funded abortion, with or without a so-called “public” (meaning government) option.

According to Guttmacher Institute statistics, abortions due to rape, incest or health of the mother account for only 1.5-2% of all legal abortions. However, "health of the mother" is becoming more and more subjective. What constitutes "health" is left up to abortion providers and their patients. Former Surgeon General Everett C. Koop, along with a group called Physicians for Life, repeatedly testifies that abortion is the least safe way to save the life of a mother, and that Caesarean section delivery is always preferable.


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