Democratic Railroading of Potential Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill Worries Pro-Lifers
by Steven Ertelt
April 1, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama and pro-abortion members of Congress will eventually craft a national health care proposal and, when they do, pro-life advocates are worried it will include abortion coverage. They are also concerned about a process that could dominate the impending debate: reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a budget process that the majority in the Senate has used before to push bills through without a filibuster — the right of the minority to prolong debate on a bill to which they object.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for National Right to Life, talked with LifeNews.com about the dual concerns of a pro-abortion health care bill and the prospect of Senate Democrats railroading it through using reconciliation.
"In a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood, Obama made it clear that abortion mandates would be, as he put it, ‘at the heart’ of his health-care plan," he said.
Right to Life is also concerned about the health care bill promoting euthanasia: "We also expect the forthcoming bill will contain structures that would lead to rationing of lifesaving treatment."
If those anti-life provisions are included in any Obama or Congressional health care package, reconciliation would make it hard for pro-life advocates and their elected officials to object to the bill, Johnson said.
"You can see, then, why some Administration officials and some congressional Democratic leaders are seeking a way to ram a plan quickly into law — they hope to minimize the time that would be available for the public to become aware of all the radical effects of their plan," Johnson told LifeNews.com on Wednesday.
During the hearing on the nomination of pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to become Obama’s Health Secretary, pro-life Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, voiced his concerns about reconciliation.
"I’m afraid that if that reconciliation winds up in the budget bill, it’ll be like a declaration of war," he said Tuesday.
As LifeNews.com noted, pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already hinted at using reconciliation to deprive pro-life senators of their filibuster right on a health care bill and he defended the idea Tuesday.
"I don’t know why everyone is up in arms," Reid said.
Even skeptical Democrats appear to nominally support the idea.
"It could happen," Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who has initially opposed reconciliation, told CNN. Though he said the fast-track procedure is not his first or second choice for how to pass a health care bill, "I’m not flat opposed to it either."
Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad added on Monday that he’s not necessarily pushing for reconciliation on health care but he may not be able to stop the rest of his Democratic caucus from doing so.
For the pro-life movement, elections have consequences and the results of a pro-abortion president and a Congress with a solid pro-abortion majority may be a health care bill that covers abortions and requires insurance companies to pay for them.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org
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