Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ObamaCare: Congress Undecided How to Fool Americans on Abortion

With scores of pro-life Democrats threatening to torpedo any health care legislation that funds abortion, congressional leadership is struggling.

-- From "Handling Of Abortion During Floor Health Reform Debate Undecided, House Leadership Says" posted at Medical News Today 10/27/09

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday dismissed questions about abortion coverage in the House health reform bill (HR 3200), saying House leaders have not yet decided how to "procedurally" handle floor debate on the bill, CongressDaily reports. Pelosi's statement comes as the debate continues between House members who want stronger restrictions on abortion coverage and those who have tried to make the bill "abortion neutral" by maintaining existing restrictions. A Democratic aide who worked on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's abortion-coverage negotiations said, "Most people would have preferred not to have to talk about abortion at all in health reform."

Nonetheless, antiabortion-rights House Democrats are pushing the conversation, despite the inclusion of a compromise amendment specifying that no federal funds can be used to pay for abortion coverage and that abortion care must be financed with private premiums, CongressDaily reports (Hunt, CongressDaily, 10/26). On Friday, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who is leading antiabortion-coverage efforts in the House, said about 40 House Democrats are prepared to block the bill from reaching the floor unless he is allowed to introduce a stand-alone amendment further restricting abortion coverage, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room" reports.

NPR's "Weekend Edition" on Saturday included a discussion with NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner about the debate over abortion coverage in health care reform. Rovner said the abortion issue is "bigger than it is in many other bills because this time they're playing for keeps." She noted that most abortion-related policies are temporary and placed in annual spending bills that are renewed each year, "so it can be changed every time the president or the Congress changes positions on abortion." However, the health reform bill "will become permanent law" if it is passed, "[s]o both sides [of] the abortion debate know there is a lot at stake here."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.