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Friday, October 23, 2009

Pro-Life Dems rightly balk at abortion in healthcare bill

Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), are showing backbone by throwing down the gauntlet over abortion government funding in healthcare legislation. Instead of lining up lockstep behind the pro-abortion House leader, reports the Associated Press in a news story today, Stupak and his pro-life colleagues are gearing up to "block action on the larger health overhaul bill unless he's allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde amendment restrictions in the health overhaul bill."
Why all the fuss about the Hyde amendment? After all, the President insists that the healthcare legislation won't allow government funding of abortion, and his White House spokesman has reiterated that claim, hiding behind the Hyde amendment as proof.
My friend Douglas Johnson and the National Right to Life Committee lay out the reasons in a letter to Congress:
H.R. 3200 would create (1) a nationwide insurance program run directly by the federal government, “the public plan,” and (2) an “affordability credit” program that would subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.  None of the funds that would be spent by the public plan, and none of the funds that would be spent by the premium subsidy program, would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bills (as the Congressional Research Service has confirmed), and therefore, none of these funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment or any other current law that restricts government subsidies for abortion.  The new government programs created by H.R. 3200 will cover elective abortion, unless the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is added to the bill to prevent this outcome. 
Stupak and his colleagues have seen through the tricky language in this bill that attempts to obfuscate government abortion subsidies through accounting screens. The bottom line is that unless Hyde amendment language is voted into the bill through an amendment, an abortionist will suddenly be able to bill the federal government for an abortion and get a government check drawn from the U.S. Treasury.
That's a radical departure from U.S. policy regarding public funding of abortion, and that's worth speaking out about. Tell your Congressional leaders you won't stand for it.

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