Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

A Death of the Public Option Might Solve the Abortion Dilemma

Putting aside for a moment the substantive arguments for and against the public option, it occurs to me that if it were to die that would have one unintended consequence: defusing the abortion issue.
When 19 pro-life Democrats wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say that they couldn’t support health care reform that encourage abortion their wording was instructive:

“Much of the concern we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan.”


Now some pro-life forces will argue against even providing government subsidies to people who then buy health coverage that includes abortion. But if the goal is to make health care preserve the status quo, it’s pretty touch to argue that even general subsidies to help people pay for private health insurance wouldn’t be allowed if the plan they chose covered abortion. Even John McCain’s campaign proposal to provide health care tax credits didn’t stipulate that citizens would have limits on what types of plans they could buy with their money.
Again, I’m not saying this is reason enough to drop the public option. (I think you could have a public option and still defuse the abortion bomb via this proposal). I’m just pointing out this one ripple effect if the public option were die.

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Gerard Nadal

posted August 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I’ve been following your treatment of the abortion issue, vis Obamacare, and find an interesting construct (somewhat of your making).
You seem to have constructed a world view that says that pro-lifers wish to maintain the status quo. This is true only as it relates to abortion becoming even more entrenched and paid for under Obama’s plan. In fact, we in the pro-life community are committed to overturning Roe, Doe and related rulings that help to establish, promote, and further the Culture of Death.
Admittedly, this cannot be done through legislative fiat, but only at the grassroots level of awareness development. Suffice it to say that the slaughter of over 50 million innocents in this country since 1973, 1.7 billion world wide since 1960 is reprehensible. We do not stand by such a ‘status quo’.
God Bless.

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posted August 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

“A Death of the Public Option Might Solve the Abortion Dilemma”
The statements is “Cutting off the nose to spite the face” – an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem. It is only conjecture that public option would pay for abortions with taxpayer money.
It might make the pro-lifers that can only focus on abortion happy, but it will not help save the life of others that cannot afford health insurance. It would also make the health insurance and members of Congress that get big dollars from the health industry very happy.
The pro-life individuals/groups do not have the right to force their beliefs on others. I would like to see a vote by all citizens. I think if the vote were based on taxpayers paying for abortions or pay the extremely more expensive pregnancy, birth, and ongoing care of the child, the vote would go for paying for the abortion.
Medicaid funding restrictions result in 1 in 4 poor women carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term
Approximately one-fourth of women who would obtain a Medicaid-funded abortion if given the option instead carry an unwanted pregnancy to term when state laws restrict Medicaid funding for abortion, because they lack the money to pay for the procedure themselves.
What do the pro-life individuals/organization do for the children born to women that cannot afford an abortion? It has been known for a long time that the children born into poverty often have problems for the rest of their life.

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posted August 20, 2009 at 7:50 am

The anti-abortion community is being led astray by being too close to the Republican Party. Pro-lifers should be firmly in the camp of supporting a public option. There will be far more of an opportunity to limit funding for abortion in a public option than any plan that relies entirely on private insurance companies….not to mention the obvious pro-life position of supporting health care for all.

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