Pelosi Again Denies Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill: I Talked With the Bishops

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pelosi Again Denies Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill: I Talked With the Bishops

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misled participants last week at the White House health care summit when she said the Senate health care bill doesn’t fund abortions. Now, comments from a late Friday press conference are surfacing where Pelosi exploits the Catholic bishops to justify her claim.

As reported last week, Pelosi covered up the clear abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems found in the Senate legislation.

"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.

Following up on the health care summit comments, a transcript provided to by the Family Research Council shows a reporter asked Pelosi on Friday whether she thought pro-life Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak was wrong in his assessment that the Senate bill funds abortions.

That’s when Pelosi cited conversations she had with the nation’s Catholic bishops, who lobbied her to stop abortion funding in her House version of the bill, as supposed proof the Senate version doesn’t fund abortions.

“Let me say it this way, there’s three, three, I don’t want to say principles but three standards that we are using as we go forward and I talked to the Catholic Bishops about this and people on all sides of the choice issue," Pelosi said.

"Law prevents federal funding; federal law prevents federal funding of abortion. There is no federal funding of abortion in this bill. There’ll be no expansion or diminution of a woman’s right to choose and that does not happen in this bill and we’re determined that we are going to pass health care reform. This bill that passed the Senate does not have federal funding of abortion," she added.

Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of the pro-life office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops put Pelosi’s myth to bed.

“We do not know how anyone who has spoken to the bishops could conclude that the Senate health care bill does not fund abortions. As the bishops have said in their letters to Congress, abortion problems in the Senate bill are so serious that, despite our strong support for expanding access to health care, we will have to oppose the bill unless they are resolved," he said.

“While the Senate bill includes some language limiting the direct use of tax credits to subsidize abortion coverage, it still violates longstanding federal precedent on abortion funding in two ways," Doerflinger explained.

“First, the Senate’s abortion language limits only use of tax credits for abortion in qualified health plans, not other funding in the bill. For example, the bill authorizes and appropriates $7 billion for services at community health centers (increased to $11 billion in the President’s new proposal). The Hyde amendment does not prevent direct use of these billions of dollars for elective abortions (because the funds are not provided through the appropriations bill governed by Hyde); nor does any provision in the Senate bill," the pro-life Catholic leader said.

“Second, the Senate’s language on tax credits still allows subsidies for overall health plans that cover elective abortions, against the policy of the Hyde amendment and other longstanding federal laws. The bill requires each American purchasing such a plan to make a separate payment to the insurer every month, solely to pay for other people’s abortions. This is an enormous imposition on the consciences of the millions of Americans who oppose abortion," Doerflinger concluded in his statement.

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