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July 29, 2009
Column #1,457
Obama's Health Bill Mandates Abortion
By Mike McManus

President Obama promised the American people and even Pope Benedict XVI that he was committed to reducing abortions in America. Here's how he plans to do it.

Surprise, surprise! Without any public debate, he has smuggled into his massive "health care reform" bills provisions that "would be the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade," according to Doug Johnson, Legislative Director of the National Right to Life Committee.

The House Bill, H.R. 3200, which has been approved by two House committees and by a similar Kennedy bill in the Senate "would result in federally mandated coverage of abortion by nearly all health plans, federally mandated recruitment of abortionists by local health networks and nullification of many state abortion laws," said Johnson.

"They would also result in federal funding of abortion on a massive scale."

Obviously, if federal funding is provided for abortion after three decades of being prohibited by the "Hyde Amendment," there will be hundreds of thousands of additional abortions each year - not fewer of them. 

If private insurance companies and Health Maintenance Organizations are mandated to provide abortions, there will be additional hundreds of thousands more of them.

Only 13 percent of counties have an abortion clinic today, according to the Guttmacher Institute.  If abortions are considered a federally mandated "essential benefit," steps must be taken by private insurers to establish abortion sites in their service area, resulting in many more abortions.

How could Obama keep a straight face in pledging to reduce abortions when he fully intended to take these three steps: mandating coverage of abortion by private plans, providing the first federal funding of abortions and require that abortion providers be very accessible?

He was not being honest when he claimed to be interested in reducing abortions.

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Medicaid funds were used to pay for 300,000 abortions a year.  Then Rep. Henry Hyde introduced an amendment in 1976 to prohibit the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.  It has passed every year for three decades.

Just why won't the Hyde Amendment block Obama's plan to fund abortions in the Health Care Reform legislation?

First, the Hyde Amendment only applies to Medicaid, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Also, the Hyde Amendment has to be added to the HHS bill each year.  That is highly unlikely with a Democratic President and Congress.

Second, Obama's Health Reform bill is creating a huge new funding river, separate from Medicaid. On July 17 Obama said that "Reproductive care is essential care, basic care, so it is at the center, the heart of the plan I propose." 

He added that people could choose to keep their existing health care plans. However, he added, "insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care…That's going to be absolutely vital." Obama spokesmen later confirmed that "reproductive care" includes abortion.

A government mandate for coverage of elective abortions is unprecedented.  Most people with employer-sponsored insurance do not now have coverage for abortion, and must pay for it themselves.

However, there are three signs of hope.  First, polls show overwhelming public opposition to the government funding of abortions.  According to a Zogby Poll last November, 69 percent of Americans opposed "taxpayer funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control."

Zogby also reported that 71 percent of Americans oppose "a bill that would force many employers to provide health insurance" that requires paying for abortions. Only 20 percent disagreed.

Second, the Senate Finance Committee is trying to develop a bipartisan Health Care Reform.  Among the six senators developing the bill behind closed doors are two pro-life supporters, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Michael Enzi, and Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who has voted for some pro-life measures.  It is not clear at this writing, whether their bill will be as pro-abortion as the three committees which have already approved bills.

Third, there are 50 so-called "Blue Dog Democrats" in the House, some of whom are pro-life, though their primary interest is holding down costs.

Congress is about to go on August recess.  This will give readers an opportunity to contact your Congressman or Senator.

If you believe that it is very important to prevent government from mandating abortion coverage in private plans, or requiring taxpayers pay for abortions - make your opinions known.

There would be 50 million more Americans alive today, contributing to this country, if Roe v. Wade had not legalized abortion.

Apparently, Obama would like to double the number of never-born Americans.

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