FactCheck.org – Actually, abortion will be covered under health care bill

Posted on August 23, 2009


In addition to other rebuttals against opponents of the current health care bill, President Obama and other members of the left have laughed off suggestions that abortions will be paid for under the House proposal. The President called it a “fabrication,” and I’ve read many other articles treating the charge as ridiculous as stating the earth is flat.

Though the claim of taxpayer-funded abortions has been reasserted by the National Right to Life and supported by the revelation about the Capps Amendment, the charge gains a damning credence when it’s backed up by no less than FactCheck.org, who provide an intensive and thorough vetting of the argument (Heads-up from Hot Air). The site, committed to digging for the facts behind public statements, has certainly been no friend to Republicans and conservatives – and yet they come to this conclusion:

“As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a “public plan” and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.”

You should do yourself a favor and read the entire analysis, but here’s another key part of the summary:

Will health care legislation mean “government funding of abortion”?

President Obama said Wednesday that’s “not true” and among several “fabrications” being spread by “people who are bearing false witness.” But abortion foes say it’s the president who’s making a false claim. “President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component” of health care legislation, said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. So which side is right?

The truth is that bills now before Congress don’t require federal money to be used for supporting abortion coverage. So the president is right to that limited extent. But it’s equally true that House and Senate legislation would allow a new “public” insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them. Obama has said in the past that “reproductive services” would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that. Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the “public plan” would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it. Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions “fabrications.”

As the article mentions, the President himself told Planned Parenthood in 2007 that “reproductive care” will be at the center of his health plan, and that “reproductive services” are essential and must be covered. Did the President explicitly say abortion? Of course not. But it would be beyond disingenuous to assert that it’s not what he’s talking about when his audience is one of the premiere pro-choice organizations in America.

So if it’s true, and it’s such a good idea, then the administration and the left should own it and be honest about it. However, there’s a reason why Obama and others have to downplay the whole notion of taxpayer-funded abortion – it will drive down the popularity of a bill finding fewer and fewer supporters, and with the revelation of a larger long-term deficit forecast, it’s becoming an increasingly tougher sell.

That’s the whole trouble for the administration on the whole health care debate – it’s not contrived partisan anger, but genuine concern over the substance of what the plan actually does that is causing problems and will ultimately force Congress to make it more palatable to the center and the right, though it may cause the strident left to walk away in anger over a compromise that drops the public option.

In any case, I think an apology is owed to those who were accused of fabricating the whole thing. It turns out it’s true after all.

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Posted in: News, Politics