Pro-Life Advocates Blast Reid-Nelson Health Care Abortion Funding Compromise
by Steven Ertelt
December 19, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The initial reaction from pro-life organizations and lawmakers to the compromise deal reached by Senate Leader Harry Reid and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson is not supportive. They say Nelson caved in on his promise to not support the government-run health care bill unless it banned abortion funding.
The new compromise doe snot ban abortion funding but merely allows states that don’t want to force taxpayers to fund abortions to opt out of doing so. Otherwise, taxpayers would still be forced to finance abortions with government funds.
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, issued a statement blasting the Nelson-Reid proposal.
No back room deal can change the fact that this is a fatally flawed bill. Make no mistake about it, the Reid bill will allow federal tax dollars to be used to fund abortions," he said in a statement sent to LifeNews.com.
It is extremely disappointing that so many Democrats have chosen the wrong side of history and put politics over the will of the American people. My colleagues and I will continue to do all that we can to ensure the American people have enough time to know what is in this bill, and we will do everything in our power to stop it, Cornyn, who is pro-life, added.
Sen. Tom Coburn, a pro-life doctor and Republican, agrees.
He said it is absolutely fictitious that the Nelson-Reid language bans abortion funding.
The negotiations, whoever did them, threw unborn babies under the bus, Coburn said, according to a report in The Hill.
The abortion language in this bill funds abortion for the first time since 1977, added Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican. We are told this is a pro-life bill. It is not.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, noted that he stood by himself on Saturday to announce the compromise.
He couldnt find one group to stand by him and validate what he was saying, Graham said.
In an email to LifeNews.com, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins called on Nelson not to "sell out the pro-life cause."
"The new language is being trumpeted as including an opt-out provision that actually makes the opt-out provision in the original bill worse by requiring the state to either cover all abortions or opt out of all abortions," Perkins said of the new language.
He said the so-called "compromise" language "makes it more likely that these states will cover all abortions."
Perkins also told LifeNews.com "there is no individual opt-out ensuring that everyone in the plans would pay for other people’s abortions. In contrast to the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, this new language undermines the principles of the Hyde Amendment."
"The Senate health care bill will set up the federal government as being brokers for the abortion industry. No Senator or organization can call themselves pro-life if they support such language," he added.
"This so-called ‘compromise’ includes the accounting gimmicks that we have seen previously proposed. The new language also does nothing to protect individual consciences. Every purchaser of insurance will be forced to pay for other people’s abortions in a more direct manner than ever before," he continued.
He said the "replacement of the public option resembles the current health plan for federal employees, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP), with one notable exception, the FEHBP excludes plans that cover abortions while Senator Reid’s bill would mandate abortion coverage."
"I ask Senators Ben Nelson and Robert Casey to remember the promises they made to protect the most innocent among us and reject Senator Reid’s bill by voting against any procedural motions on the legislation," he concluded.
Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice expressed disappointment with a so-called "compromise."
This compromise offers no real protection for human life and does nothing to keep federal health care funds from being used for abortion, Jay Sekulow,the pro-life legal group’s chief counsel, told LifeNews.com. The fact is that the Senate bill specifically authorizes federal funds to be used for abortions."
"The so-called ‘protections’ in the compromise simply require that the federal subsidies and premium dollars that are collected for these services be kept separate from other federal funds," he explained. "The end result provides no restrictions on abortions, but simply sets up what can only be described as a scheme that allows for federal funding of abortions, which directly violates long-standing federal law under the Hyde Amendment.
Sekulow said Nelson has repeatedly said he wanted to keep abortion funding out of the health care bill but he has produced a compromise that is "not in the best interest of the American people who understand that abortion should never be a mandatory health care benefit."
Also, Concerned Women for America is opping the so-called compromise language about to be added to the bill.
"A compromise that won Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s support for the Reid health care bill today will do what he previously stated he would not support- use federal funds to subsidize abortions," the gorup told LifeNews.com.
"The Reid bill will put the US government in the abortion business," CWA president Wendy Wright said. "The massive ‘bribes’ that won Senators’ support will be paid by American tax payers."
"Senator Ben Nelson appears to have overlooked some realities," Wright added. "The option for states to opt out of abortion coverage is illusory. The federal government will be subsidizing elective abortions, a federal agency will be managing abortion coverage, and individuals (even those in Nebraska) will be paying for abortions through an accounting scheme."
"This scheme will increase abortions, causing more women to suffer the health and psychological complications that come with this act," she said.
Leading pro-abortion lawmakers have already hailed the compromise and say they can support it — giving a clear indication that the Nelson-Reid language does not meet the approval of pro-life advocates.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans analyzed the language and say that there is a concern that it will enable abortion funding on Indian reservations.
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