Top House Democrat Falsely Claims Senate Health Care Bill Doesn’t Fund Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders looking to push the government-run health care bill through reconciliation, and with abortion funding as a major issue causing pro-life Democrats to consider voting against the Senate bill, a top Democrat is peddling the myth that the bill doesn’t fund abortions.
Last week, during the White House health care summit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misled participants by claiming the Senate measure contains no abortion funding.
This week, her top lieutenant, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, made the same claim in an effort to twist arms to support the bill.
Speaking at a press briefing late Tuesday, Hoyer told reporters that both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill contain prohibitions on abortion funding — even though only the House version has the Stupak amendment ensuring no federal funds are used to pay for abortions.
The Senate bill and the House bill both included language which would assure that no public funds were spent contrary to the Hyde language — that is (for) abortion or abortion procedures, Hoyer claimed, according to a CNS News report.
The Senate bill provides for that (and) certainly the House bill provided for that, and I think we’ll see whether we can work to a solution, a resolution which will affect that end, said Hoyer.
But Michelle Begnoche, press secretary for Rep. Bart Stupak, the leading pro-life Democrat in the House who has a coalition of at least 10-12 Democrats who say they will vote no on the Senate bill because it funds abortions, wasn’t buying it.
The congressman does not agree with Mr. Hoyer’s statement that the Senate bill language and the House bill language achieve the same end with regard to federal funding of abortion," she told CNS News. On the issue of abortion language, there have been general discussions but no concrete proposals made at this time."
Last week at the White House, Pelosi’s comments came in response to pro-life House Republican Leader John Boehner telling President Barack Obama that Americans don’t want to be forced to finance abortions under the government-run health care bill.
"My colleague, Leader Boehner, the law of the land is there is no public funding of abortion and there is no public funding of abortion in these bills and I don’t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said," Pelosi asserted.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, emailed LifeNews.com about Pelosi’s error.
"Speaker Pelosi has her own idiosyncratic dictionary, in which federal agencies can pay for abortion on demand without spending ‘public funds’ or ‘taxpayer funds’ for abortion," Johnson said. "In ordinary English, however, this is deceptive claptrap."
"Every version of the health care bill has contained multiple pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for abortion — except for the version that was fixed by adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, over Speaker Pelosi’s objections," Johnson explained. "But President Obama and Senator Reid succeeded in keeping that fix out of the Senate bill — indeed, the Senate produced a final bill that is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation to reach the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade."
He said the current Senate bill that Obama and Democrats are promoting through reconciliation, "would result in direct federal funding of abortion through Community Health Centers, tax subsidies for private abortion plans that cover abortion (including some federally administered plans), and pro-abortion federal administrative mandates, among other problems."
Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them.
But the bill contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.
The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.
The Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program.
And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.
Finally, the Senate bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.
The new Obama health care plan proposing final changes to the Senate bill so it can move through Congress corrects none of these problems outlined by leading pro-life groups as reasons for pro-life advocates to oppose the government-run health care bill.
And the changes Obama submitted for the Senate bill under reconciliation actually increases the potential abortion funding for Community Health Centers.
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