Pro-Life Group: House Health Care Bill Would Fund Abortions "For Years to Come"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 2, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group: House Health Care Bill Would Fund Abortions "For Years to Come"

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 2
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The pro-life movement is unified in its opposition to the House health care reform bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled last week because of its abortion funding. In a new letter to members of Congress, the National Right to Life more exactly spells out what is at stake in the votes expected later this week.

Members of the House could hold multiple votes on health care as soon as Thursday — with votes coming on the rules for debate, one massive amendment from Pelosi and ruling Democrats, and a vote on the bill itself.

When they vote, the National Right to Life Committee says their decisions will affect the status of government funding of abortions for years to come.

NRLC has one main message it hopes lawmakers and pro-life advocates will understand before the votes take place: "The bill would create a national federal agency health program, the ‘public option,’ and would explicitly authorize that federal agency program to pay for elective abortions."

"This federal agency program will pay for abortions with federal funds (which are the only kind of funds that federal agencies can spend)," the letter, provided to LifeNews.com, spells out.

NRLC notes that pro-life Representatives Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts have "proposed an amendment that would apply the long-established principles of the ‘Hyde Amendment’ to the federal ‘public option’ program, but Democratic leaders have made it clear that their Rule will not allow a floor vote" on it.

As a result, NRLC is asking members of the House to vote against the Rule for debate on the health care reform bill and it will relay how lawmakers vote on those rules as either a pro-life or pro-abortion vote when it communicates those votes to its millions of members nationwide.

"As long as language in H.R. 3962 authorizes the public option to pay for elective abortions, a vote in favor of a Rule that protects that language will be regarded by NRLC as the most important House roll call on direct government funding of abortion on demand since the House last voted directly on the Hyde Amendment in 1997," the letter says.

"In short, the record of each House member on whether a federal agency program should directly fund elective abortion (abortion on demand) will be defined by this roll call, possibly for many years to come," the letter adds.

National Right to Life’s letter, authored by its legislative director Douglas Johnson, indicates the pro-life group expects a "manager’s amendment" brought by Pelosi and her top lieutenants.

The letter says the amendment is merely a token change to the language that authorizes the massive abortion funding and will do nothing to prohibit it.

The manager’s amendment "will make additional changes in the abortion language of the bill, but those changes will be cosmetic — because Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Waxman, among others, clearly are committed to attempt to establish a federal ‘public option’ that will fund elective abortions."

NRLC notes how political observers have said the Stupak amendment would prevail if Pelosi and House Democrats would allow a vote on it — which makes it clear they want the health care bill, the federal government and Americans to fund abortions.

"It is possible to prevent the new federal agency program from funding elective abortions — but only if the Rule is first rejected," the letter goes on to say.

The letter backs up its abortion funding contention by pointing to language on page 110 of H.R. 3962 (lines 1-7) which explicitly says "nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the public health insurance option from providing for . . . coverage of services described in paragraph (4)(A)."

The "services described in paragraph (4)(A)" are elective abortions (i.e., all abortions, abortions without any limitations whatever).

"The language makes it explicitly clear that this authority extends to the entire universe of elective abortions that would NOT be eligible for funding under the federal Medicaid program, because the Hyde Amendment currently strictly limits coverage of abortion under the Medicaid program," Right to Life notes.

The Hyde Amendment will not apply to the "public option," as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has confirmed — which makes the Stupak amendment necessary.

The letter also disabuses its readers of the misconception the media and pro-abortion lawmakers have put forward that the House health care bill would "segregate" federal funds away from the payments for abortions.

"Those references are inapplicable or nonsensical with respect to the public option," NRLC says. "These news stories are talking about an entirely different program, the affordability credits program."

Language in the bill concerning the credits currently allows this federal subsidy to help purchase private health plans that cover elective abortion — which is abortion funding and which has been opposed by National Right to Life and pro-life groups.

But the problem with the "public option," is separate and distinct, and it would be equally acute even if the "affordability credit" program was not part of the bill, NRLC explains.

Ultimately, the public option in the bill makes it so the so-called "premiums" that will be paid to the government by citizens who enroll in this government program become federal funds when the government assumes control of them.

"Under H.R. 3962, abortionists will perform abortions and will be paid with funds drawn on a U.S. Treasury account (created on page 215 of the bill). This will be direct federal government funding of abortion, a complete break from the policy that has long governed Medicaid and other federal government health programs," the letter concludes.

The letter directors members to vote no.

"If you do not wish to go on record supporting creation of a national federal agency program that pays for elective abortions with federal funds — which public opinion strongly opposes — please vote No on the Rule, and insist on inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the bill," it says.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.NRLC.org

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