Conventional wisdom typically dictates (not always) that what ever The Des Moines Register advocates; those who are proponents of common sense should do the exact opposite. That is certainly true with yesterday’s editorial “Don’t let abortion debate derail reform.”
Anti-abortion-rights groups either don’t have the facts about health-care reform, or they’re intentionally distorting them. They are opposing a "public option" for health insurance, saying it would cover abortions. The Associated Press quoted Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, as saying the public plan "pays for abortion."
Um… right. I think think The Des Moines Register editorial board needs a refresher course on what constitutes taxpayer money because they say “none of the benefits is directly funded with tax dollars.” They then write…
Low- and middle-income people would receive publicly funded subsidies to buy an insurance plan in the exchange.
Where exactly do they think public funds for the “publically funded subsidies” comes from?
Now regarding whether or not a public option will pay for abortion, Emily Geiger at The Iowa Republican points out that it isn’t only anti-abortion “fanatics” pointing this issue out. Enter exhibit A & B:
“Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue.” – Associated Press via MSNBC.com
“An Obama administration official refused Sunday to rule out the possibility that federal tax money might be used to pay for abortions under proposed health care legislation.” – New York Times
The Family Research Council also notes that the problem isn’t what the bill says, but rather what it doesn’t say:
The short answer is yes, because there is no explicit provision in the bill to:
- Prevent taxpayer funding of abortions as part of the health care benefit Congress is considering. It is ironic that taxpayer-funded abortions would be considered a "health care benefit" since the baby gets no health care benefit from abortion.
- Prevent delays in health care services that result in the death of the patient waiting for the care, usually the old, infirm and the very sick. In the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week, an amendment to prevent the denial, delay or rationing of health care was defeated. Every Democratic senator on the committee voted not to prevent rationing.
- Allow health care providers, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to refuse to participate in any health care-related action that violates their conscience, be it an abortion or turning off a ventilator, denying or delaying care that will likely result in the death of a patient, or refusing to dispense an abortion-producing drug.
I also encourage you to read the National Right to Life Committee info sheet on HR 3200 and be sure to read the bill yourself. The Register doesn’t want this to be a wedge issue? Then they need to be honest about what the bill could do and advocate specific language to be a part of the bill that would prevent it. But they don’t want that either.