|This Morning Bell is the third in a five-part week-long series on how Obamacare will affect you.
“Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,” Or so President Barack Obama promised to the American people in his health care address before a Joint Session of Congress on September 9th. But then why did the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops send a letter to Congress on October 8th writing: “No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. … No current bill meets this test”?
Who is telling the truth? The President or the Bishops? Last Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked this question during his daily press briefing and answered: “Well, I don’t want to get me in trouble at church, but I would mention there’s a law that precludes the use of federal funds for abortion that isn’t going to be changed in these health care bills.” Unsatisfied, the CNS News’ Fred Lucas again pressed on Friday:
The Catholic bishops have repeatedly said that the Hyde amendment would not apply to the health care bill and yesterday in the letter that they sent to Congress they said that if language expressly prohibiting abortion funding is not added to the health care bill, they will vigorously — “vigorously oppose” — that’s a quote — the bill. My question on that, does the President support the bishops on this?
My answer isn’t different than it was on Wednesday. There may be a legal interpretation that has been lost here, but there’s a fairly clear federal law prohibiting the federal use of money for abortion. I think it is — again, it’s exceedingly clear in the law.
How to put this politely … it is safe to say that Gibbs’ above statement is less than true. The next time anyone tries to convince you otherwise, that the White House is telling the truth ask them where exactly in the Federal Code it says this. The truth is…it doesn’t.
But what about the Hyde amendment mentioned by the White House reporter? Is the Hyde amendment not the law of the land? No, it is not even a statute. First passed in 1976 by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) as a rider to the Health and Human Services appropriations bill, the Hyde amendment must be passed again every year as part of the HHS appropriations bill and even then it only applies to current HHS programs. The Hyde amendment would do nothing to stop Obamacare from funding abortions and all the versions of Obamacare passed by Congressional committees so far do exactly that.
Conservatives introduced amendments in all five committee markups (three in the House and two in the Senate) that would have specifically prohibited federal funds from being used to cover abortion. None of them passed. Worse, the “compromise” the White House has adopted is an amendment sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) who has a 100% pro-abortion voting record according to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Not only does the Capps amendment allow for federal money to subsidize abortions in private plans and mandate federal funding for abortions in the public option (this according to FactCheck.org), it also requires that at least one insurance plan cover abortion in every geographical region in the country.
In 2007, then candidate Barack Obama promised Planned Parenthood: “We’re gonna set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services including reproductive services. … We will also subsidize those who choose to stay in the private insurance market, except, the insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care including reproductive care.” A Rasmussen poll released last month showed that only 13% of Americans want the health-care reform bill to use tax dollars to fund abortions, clearly demonstrating that even most pro-choice believers do not favor taxpayer funded abortions. A Pew Research Center poll two weeks ago showed that support for legalized abortion has dropped to its lowest level in years to 47%, down from 54% last year. Obama can either please NARAL and Planned Parenthood or he can honor the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Americans. He can’t do both.