Morgen on November 10, 2009 at 7:30 am
Over the weekend, Democrats in the House narrowly avoided a stunning defeat of their healthcare reform bill by capitulating to a block of moderate, pro-life Democrats who insisted that abortion be restricted from any government-funded insurance plan. This would include the public option and all private insurance plans in the new government-run insurance exchange. However, now that the bill has cleared the House, liberal members of Congress and the President himself are making it crystal clear that they have no intention of allowing this provision to survive in the final bill.
Here is the President in an interview on Monday with ABC News:
I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. And we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.
There are strong feelings on both sides, and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.
I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test — that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices.
Perhaps its telling that he would use the term “sneaking” given that deception has been a central component of his strategy since the inception of his health reform plan. Anyway, the President is only echoing the liberal meme which began proliferating on Sunday, which is that the House abortion restrictions would result in predominantly poor women “losing” the health benefits they currently enjoy.
This is a flagrant distortion of the facts, and indeed the President’s own words on this issue. When the abortion issue first came to prominence over the summer, the President was quoted on more than one occasion clearly stating that the government would not fund abortion under his health reform plan. In fact, he included this among the “myths” that opponents of reform were spreading without any basis in fact. The only problem was, as confirmed at the time by FactCheck.Org, the original text of the House bill did not include any restrictions whatsoever on federal funding of abortion. And further, the early abortion amendment which was subsequently added to the bill explicitly allowed private insurers in the exchange who received federal subsidies to cover abortions. And even the public option would be allowed to cover abortion through a bookkeeping charade of separately pooling public and private funds.
In other words, the language was a joke and directly contradicted the President’s own assurances over this issue. Which was what led to the showdown in the House over the weekend, and the passage of the more restrictive text.
Here’s the real problem, and why liberals are having to resort to new lies and distortions. The President and other liberals are trying to make this an issue of just upholding the “status quo” on federal abortion funding. But meanwhile they are trying to ram through a bill which will for the first time ever result in the government directly funding the provision of healthcare for millions of non-poor, and non-elderly women. It’s an unprecedented intervention on the part of the government, and the only “sneaking” going on was their initial attempt to upend the entire healthcare system while pretending it would have no impact on the funding of abortion. This is sheer nonsense of course as any objective evaluation of the facts has proven.
With the liberal proponents of reform seeking to change virtually every facet of our current healthcare system, it’s more than reasonable for pro-life Democrats, in exchange for their support, to seek an extension of the current ban on federal abortion funding within the new insurance exchange.
And as for the claim that this change will result in anyone “losing” their current benefits with regards to abortion coverage, I thought that under the President’s plan that “if you like the plan you have now, you can keep it”? My suggestion would be for anyone desiring this coverage to take the President up on this promise. And if liberals in Congress are really concerned about limiting choice, then they should withdraw their support for this bill in its entirety.
But don’t expect the millions of pro-life Americans, and others opposed to the federal funding of abortion, to passively accept that our tax dollars will be used for the taking of innocent life. No one is entitled to receive a government subsidy for this purpose. Thank God for the Democrats in the House with the courage to stand up to the House leadership and the President on this issue. I only hope they have the courage to stand fast because this battle is far from over.