Nancy Pelosi Again Avoids Question of Abortion in Government-Run Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nancy Pelosi Again Avoids Question of Abortion in Government-Run Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 3
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The House and Senate bills for government-run health care pave the way for taxpayer-funding of abortion and abortion mandates in insurance. Yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has twice dodged a question about whether she supports including abortion funding in the health care plans.

One week ago, CNN’s John King asked Pelosi if the government-run health plan should cover abortions.

Pelosi stammered, saying, “That’s not–that’s not the issue. The issue is people go out there to–we’ll be working on that issue. But that’s not the issue."

At a Friday press conference, a Cybercast News Service reporter asked “Could you please give me a yes-or-no answer on whether or not you personally, Speaker Pelosi, support expressly prohibiting the funding of abortion through the federally subsidized health plan created by the health-care reform bill.”

Pelosi was slightly more articulate but still failed to give a yes or no answer.

“Well, my position on a women’s right to choose is well known,” Pelosi responded, according to CNS News.

“This issue, however, will not stand in the way of us advancing the health-care legislation. Again the committees of jurisdiction–in fact, today Energy and Commerce, tomorrow as they work on the bill, may be addressing that issue," the House leader added.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee did address the issue and opened the door to taxpayer-funded abortions with sham language that made it appear as if abortion funding was curtailed.

The Capps amendment the panel added to HR 3200 explicitly permits the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Sebelius, to include abortion in the services offered by public option and requires abortion coverage in the government health plan if the Hyde amendment is ever reversed.

It "explicitly authorizes the flow of public funds, untouched by the Hyde Amendment, into strictly private plans that can cover any or all abortions," according to National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson.

HR 3200 authorizes taxpayer-funded affordability credits and the Capps amendment specifically requires taxpayer subsidies to flow to plans that include abortion, but creates an accounting scheme designed to give the impression that public funds will not subsidize abortion.

Johnson tells that the amendment relies on a "bookkeeping sham that is completely contrary to the long-established principles embodied in the Hyde Amendment."

The amendment also said the federal administrator for health care "shall ensure" that there is a private plan that covers all abortions in each region.

Johnson explains: "That is, under the bill, in every part of the country, elective abortion must be covered under at least one private plan, in order to comply with this federal mandate (in addition to being covered under the public plan)."

Despite bipartisan opposition from Republicans and some pro-life Democrats on the committee, the panel approved the Capps amendment on a 30-28 vote.

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