Taxpayer funding of abortion

catholicabortionWe've been critical of some of the coverage of health care legislation in recent weeks. But here's a straightforward Associated Press piece that does a solid job of laying out the issues. From the beginning of the article:

Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue. . . .

Advocates on both sides are preparing for a renewed battle over abortion, which could jeopardize political support for President Barack Obama's health care initiative aimed at covering nearly 50 million uninsured and restraining medical costs.

"We want to see people who have no health insurance get it, but this is a sticking point," said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "We don't want health care reform to be the vehicle for mandating abortion."

The piece gets the perspective of NARAL Pro-Choice America and other groups that support abortion rights.

"It's a sham," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life. "It's a bookkeeping scheme. The plan pays for abortion, and the government subsidizes the plan."

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., author of the compromise, said she was trying to craft a solution that would accommodate both sides. Her amendment also would allow plans that covered no abortions whatsoever--not even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother--to be offered through the insurance exchange.

"With all due respect, not everyone adheres to what the Catholic bishops believe," said Capps, who supports abortion rights. "Our country allows for both sides, and our health plan should reflect that as well."

I'm not quite sure how you accommodate the people who don't want to pay for other people's abortions as well as the people who do want to pay for other people's abortions under the same plan, but the article does a good job of showing how abortion rights supporters and those who oppose abortion have fought over the federal funding of abortion issue for decades. One of the most helpful parts of the story is explaining how taxpayers might pay for abortions under the new legislation and how and why they don't pay for abortions under the current law. It also does slightly better than previous stories in explaining current provisions for abortion under private insurance plans.

It's not the most thorough story on the matter, but it's a great start and does a good job of including the voice of Catholics who want health care legislation but don't want any provision that would lead to taxpayer funding of abortions. There might even be some other religious voices worth hearing on the matter. Something tells me this abortion issue is going to be a big one.

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