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Abortion and Healthcare

Aborttion has been part of the healthcare debate from the beginning.  The effort was supposed to be that the healthcare bill would be “abortion neutral” meaning it neither expanded the opportunities for abortion, nor restricted them.  Now it seems that no longer suffices for the US Catholic Bishops who want to impose their view on abortion on all of American citizens and make this an anti-abortion health Care bill.  Sara Posner at Relgion Dispatches explains the current fight over abortion in the health care bill:

As the House of Representatives health care reform bill edges closer to a vote, anti-choice Democrats continue their threats to hijack the bill over abortion funding. These members, and their supporters, are the very constituency Democrats have been urged to placate on abortion-related issues. That strategy, misguided to begin with, seems even more so as the “pro-life” Democrats are trying to bring down their own party’s signature legislative initiative.


As part of Democrats’ re-tooling in the post-“values voters” election of 2004, they tried to be more “friendly” to religion. A big part of that strategy included making anti-choice Democrats feel more “welcome” in the party by being less doctrinaire on choice, and acknowledging the claimed heartfelt religious belief at the core of these Democrats’ position.

But now some of these Democrats, who claim to be pro-life, are playing politics with health care reform, aligning themselves more closely with the anti-choice hard right and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) than their own party. They insist that efforts to ensure that no public funds will be used to cover abortion services are insufficient. This game-playing is not about public funding of abortion, already outlawed in the Hyde Amendment (which bars federal funding from being used to pay for abortions for low-income women under Medicaid and other programs). Indeed, the House bill already incorporates Hyde through its own amendment authored by pro-choice California Democrat, Rep. Lois Capps.


Instead, these Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, are pushing for an amendment to restrict womens’ access to abortion. And that’s not theology, it’s politics.

Even so, says Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, those attempting to torpedo health care reform over the abortion issue do not represent mainstream religious views. “Pro-choice religious groups and leaders are very mainstream. They are supporting health care reform in the broadest framework,” she said in an interview with RD.

While the USCCB has taken a hard line on opposing health care reform (which it claims to support) if abortion isn’t sufficiently restricted, it does not represent the views of most Catholics. A recent poll commissioned by Catholics for Choice found that 68% of Catholics disapproved of the Bishops’ opposition to health care reform that includes abortion coverage; 56% believed the Bishops shouldn’t even be taking a position on the health care reform legislation. The views of the country’s 65 million Catholics, said Jon O’Brien, the group’s president, “are not represented by 350 members of the USCCB.”


Other pro-choice religious leaders are similarly dismayed. Rev. Debra Haffner, president of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, reacting to efforts to restrict abortion coverage in health care reform, wrote on her blog, “It is profoundly unjust when the private moral choices of women… are subject to majority vote and political trading. There can be no common ground when votes are allowed to strip people of their existing rights.”

Planned Parenthood, said Richards, wants the Hyde Amendment repealed because low-income women should have equal access to abortion services. But, she added, “we’re not taking the position that health care reform is the place to relitigate that issue… unfortunately a handful of people would rather bring down health care reform in its entirety than provide the coverage women already have.”

Read the entire article on abortion and health care over at Religion Dispatches:

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posted November 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

As I write this, the house bill has passed, with Stupak-Pitts Amendment attached.
With the passage of a health care bill, poor women will finally receive the pre-natal care and other health services they deserve, and there will be far less incentive to abort. This is what Obama promised. If pregnancy were an actual illness, it would be despicable to exclude abortion from the health care bill, but it is not.
Also, it is NOT a Catholic issue, since a whopping seventy percent of Americans are morally opposed to abortion (in a recent poll) which constitutes a pretty large majority.
The recent defection of the Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson in Texas is one example that shows the tide is turning.

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posted November 8, 2009 at 1:29 am

What about a mans right to choose? what about a Fathers right to choose life for his child? what about the childs right to try to be born without being ripped out of existence? The womans right to choose and the mans right to choose was BEFORE a baby was made, that is the choice and they still have it. Abortions are not performed for rape and incest and health risk reasons, but for convenience reasons. Let’s see the documentations of how many times a doctor suggested aborting a baby because the baby itself may have health issues, but the parents went on to have a completely healthy child. And who are doctors to decide what type of life is worth keeping or discarding?
Congratulations, “affordable health care” on it’s way. (cost of health care may go down, but taxes will skyrocket! and the health care will prob. make you sick- but at least it will be “affordable” and almost everyone will have it)
Subject: Government Take Over of Health Care in America…OOps.. I meant “reform”.!
I can’t mention ALL the wonderful things that now lie ahead in our very near future, for America and her children yet to be born. (you’ll see the evidence of these “great” reforms soon enough) Here are just a few…
Get ready to SWITCH YOUR HEALTH CARE INSURANCE PROVIDER to the new Government Run Health Care System! Yeah!….,
OR … pay a FINE! / “tax”, for selecting your own, ..
OR … if you don’t like the governments health care system and CAN’T AFFORD the one your employer “MIGHT still offer” (IF they can afford it after their tax increase for employee health care), just get ready for your $250,000.00 FINE and / or IMPRISONMENT! !!!! Yeah!!!!!
Not to mention that you will need a government health card., (like your social security card or meidicare card), government knowledge of your banking information (to verify how much money you have, as well as your income verification, and how much money you have spent and will spend, on healthcare annually)
Oh – and did you know that you will get an “appointed” Health Care Insurance CZAR? (no need for election, his powers will be only minimal.. “almost’ limitless”). He will make all of those pesky decisions for you that you probably won’t want to make, like … if you qualify for care, how much you are “entitled to”, when you may receive it, how much it will cost you, if your needs are “cost effective” for the overall health care government run system… Sounds Great!, ..right?
Wonderful coverage for Everyone that we’ve all waited so long for! Why simply “reform” when you can take over the whole system, have control of all the funds, tax the people to pay for every penny of it with no limitations in sight.,tax the people even more if they don’t want to participate, fine the ones who don’t want to get involved at all., imprison them if that doesn’t bring them around, give everyone health care even those who say they are legal but have no documentation to prove it, also those who can’t afford it because they don’t feel like going to work – because after all, if they make too much money.. their heath care bills/tax will go up,
And we don’t want to miss out on the wonderful opportunity to watch all those heros in Congress and the Senate, that did something wonderful for America, get their names in the History books, and a pat on the back from the President. We have such a wonderful place to live, this great nation
called America, government run Social Security, Medicare and now Health Care for everyone… who needs Freedom?
Some choice ha?
Thank-fully they did not get their forced funding of abortions that they were hoping for, it was marginally voted out w/an addendum. (but they will try to come up w/ something to nullify the addendum later- mark it down)
We sure could use a few good men!

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Katie Angel

posted November 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

Dear Wakeup, If America under the current government is so sickening to you, please follow the advice that you and your fellow reactionaries proposed to the people opposed to former President George W. Bush. Leave. This is still the greatest nation on earth and the progress of this bill through Congress is an example of it – the bill was shaped and revised in response to what the Congress was hearing from their constituants. Perhaps you should spend more time actually paying attention to what is happening in the real world and less listening to the voices in your head (or the talk show hosts whose whole agenda boils down to: beat the other side, even if they have a good idea).

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posted November 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm

First, the emerging formula for government health care looks like insurance of last resort. Individuals that receive “the public option” need to fail a reasonable attempt to get private health insurance coverage. Seems like a true “safety net” for millions of currently un-insured.
Second, rationing of payments for service is the result of all insurance private and public. Automobile insurance “rations repair”, life insurance “rations death benefits” and health insurance “rations medical service”. This has been a rational market and will continue to be a rational market with or without a public option.
Third, no one can predict the future. Seems like conservatives cannot interpret the present. One out of four citizens without access to adequate health care means that the health market cannot make adequate plans quarter-on-quarter for the customers that show up at the hospital door.

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