Writer: President Barack Obama Not Forthright on Abortion Funding in Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
September 7, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a weekend column, nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker says President Barack Obama has not been forthright on the abortion funding found in the health care reform bills Congress is considering. A leading pro-life advocate says Parker is right but understates how much the bills fund abortions.
"By not being completely forthright about federal funding issues for the procedure, President Obama has lost some of his momentum in the reform debate," parker writes.
"The president may have decided that a thorough explanation was too complicated — and the subject is not simple. Or perhaps, as some have suggested, he simply doesn’t understand it himself," she says. "But Obama figured wrong if he thought he could deflect concerns about one of the nation’s most divisive issues with a casual dismissal of those crazy myths."
Parker cites the recent analysis form the nonpartisan FactCheck.org web site that confirmed the House and Senate measures both open the door to government funding of abortion.
She acknowledges that the congressional bills "allow for funding in indirect — possibly disingenuous — ways."
On the House side, she notes that the Capps amendment added to one of the versions of HR 3200 "leaves open the possibility for funding elective abortion at the discretion of the secretary of Health and Human Services" and that, given the pro-abortion position of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, abortions will likely be funded.
She also notes that abortion coverage could be contained in private insurance coverage that would compete with the public option, the government-run health care system.
"Although some insurance carriers would specifically not offer abortion coverage, others will. And because some Americans would be provided federal subsidies to buy coverage — and could pick policies that cover the procedure — the purity of Obama’s statement that abortions are not funded under the plan gets diluted," she writes.
Parker says, "Segregating funding so that taxpayers’ dollars don’t get tainted by abortions is problematic, to say the least."
In comments to LifeNews.com, National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson says the abortion funding in the health care restructuring bills is more than "problematic."
He says Parker’s column "is a helpful contribution to the developing debate" but says she "has actually understated the abortion-related problems with the Obama-backed bill."
He says "Parker is correct to conclude that the Administration would certainly do so — not only because of Sebelius’s pro-abortion policy views, but because [of] Obama himself."
Obama directly promised Planned Parenthood in 2007 that his public plan "will provide all essential services, including reproductive services," and that such services would be "at the center, and at the heart of the plan that I propose."
"He admitted, and no one disputes, that ‘reproductive services’ includes elective abortion," Johnson adds. "Obama has never repudiated this promise."
Johnson continues, "The abortion coverage would not be optional. You would not be allowed to enroll in the public option unless you were willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions — in effect, an abortion surcharge (which the Capps Amendment specifies will not be less than $12 a year, but it could be more)."
"The bill requires DHHS to collect these monies and place them in a federal Treasury account; at that point, they would be as much ‘public funds’ and ‘federal funds’ as any money collected by the IRS. DHHS would be writing checks to abortionists to pay for abortions, with funds drawn on a federal Treasury account," Johnson explains.
"Parker is mistaken in saying that this would be ‘indirect’ funding of abortion," he told LifeNews.com. "It would be direct government funding of abortion, with federal government funds, pure and simple."
Johnson says Parker does not fully explain how "the bill explicitly allows the tax-generated funds in the big new subsidy program to go to private plans that cover abortion on demand."
"This, too, would be a drastic departure from the status quo, because under current law, federal funds do not flow into health plans that cover abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or (in some programs) cases of rape or incest," he said.
The bottom line for Johnson and pro-life groups is that the legislation is a massive expansion of taxpayer-funding of abortions.
"A vote for H.R. 3200 is a vote to establish a federal government health program that will directly fund elective abortions, and also a vote to subsidize private insurance plans that cover elective abortions. Many millions of Americans already know these things, and many of them are also learning that some of their elected leaders are trying to mislead them about these provisions," he concludes.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org
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