Pro-Life Group to Oppose Health Care Bill Debate Rules if Abortion Amdt Blocked
by Steven Ertelt
October 21, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In what is a preview of the next battle over health care and abortion in Congress, a pro-life group has issued a letter to lawmakers saying it will oppose the rules for debating the health care bill in the House if Democrats prevent a vote on an amendment to remove the abortion funding in the bill.
Before the House debates HR 3200, Democrats must combine the three versions committees approved, all of which allow abortion funding, into one bill.
Then, the House Rules Committee must draft the rules for debate on the legislation — which may or may not include an allowance for an amendment to revoke taxpayer funding of abortions.
If the panel disallows the amendment, the National Right to Life Committee says it will urge lawmakers to oppose the rules for debate.
Every major pro-life group will likely follow suit and a collection of pro-life Democrats and Republicans will be forced to oppose the rules. If they get a majority vote, the House will be unable to debate the bill and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be forced to get her caucus to draft a new rule allowing the amendment.
In its letter, NRLC says it "is strongly opposed to H.R. 3200" based on the current versions of the bill that all fund abortions.
"Moreover, NRLC intends to oppose the Rule on H.R. 3200 and to score the roll call on the Rule, if as we anticipate the Rule fails to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment," to prevent abortion funding.
NRLC says the amendment is "to prevent federal funding of abortion through the proposed ‘public plan’ and to prevent federal subsidies of premiums for private abortion coverage."
"A vote for a Rule that protects the pro-abortion language approved in committee is a vote to establish two new federal government programs that will subsidize abortion on demand," the letter explains.
H.R. 3200 would create a nationwide insurance program run directly by the federal government, known as the public option or government option. It would also create an affordability credit program that would subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.
None of the funds that would be spent by the public plan, and none of the funds that would be spent by the premium subsidy program, would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bills that are required to prevent abortion funding under the Hyde Amendment, NRLC explains.
As a result, NRLC informs lawmakers that "The new government programs created by H.R. 3200 will cover elective abortion, unless the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is added to the bill to prevent this outcome."
NRLC also points out that the Capps-Waxman amendment added to the House Energy and Commerce Committee version of HR 3200 specifically authorizes abortion funding.
"The Capps-Waxman Amendment is an attempt to establish federal government funding of abortion and insurance coverage of abortion by use of misleading, contrived terminology," the letter says.
The amendment funds abortions because the new health care program would "would pay abortionists for performing elective abortions, out of funds drawn on a U.S. Treasury account" — which is comprised of federal funds paid into it with premiums from taxpayers.
"In addition, the Capps-Waxman Amendment explicitly authorizes federal subsidies to pay the premiums of private health plans that cover elective abortions," NRLC adds.
This is a departure from current federal law such as the laws that oversee the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, which pays for health care coverage for federal workers and currently does not allow taxpayer financing of abortions.
Other versions of HR 3200 also contained provisions that could be used as a basis for government regulations to force expansions in the number of abortion centers.
NRLC says it will monitor the crafting of the final bill to determine how extensively it promotes abortion and abortion funding.
ACTION: Contact Rep. Louise Slaughter and members of the House rules Committee and ask them to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to stop abortion funding in health care. Email Slaughter here and go to this link to find a list of the members of the committee. You can also call any member of Congress at 202-224-3121.
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