Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Pro-Lifers Haven’t Quite Gotten The Hang of Common Ground Either

posted by swaldman

Having criticized Democrats for failing to neutralize the abortion issue on health care through effective “common ground” provisions, I must point out that the pro-lifers have fared no better.
When the issue came up before the House Energy and Commerce Committe, the pro-life forces offered up an amendment declaring not only that taxpayer funds wouldn’t pay for abortions but that no funds could “cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.”
Part of health care reform has nothing to do with the controversial “public option” paid for by the government. In this less controversial part, the government would create an insurance shopping mall for private plans. Under the pro-lifer amendment, the government could be precluded from even including in their exchange any private insurance plan if it covered abortion — even if the policyholder paid 100% of the premiums.
That amendment would also likely make it so citizens who got any government financial help for health care would only be allowed to buy private insurance plans that don’t cover abortion.
In other words, this amendment would take a big step toward limiting what private insurers do about abortion.



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praesta

posted August 13, 2009 at 2:39 am


Under the pro-lifer amendment, the government could be precluded from even including in their exchange any private insurance plan if it covered abortion — even if the policyholder paid 100% of the premiums.
That amendment would also likely make it so citizens who got any government financial help for health care would only be allowed to buy private insurance plans that don’t cover abortion.

As a pro-lifer and a Catholic (de jure, these are one and the same) I think the issue here is less pure ideology and more a question of the Catholic hospital system and bureaucracy.
Perhaps Catholic hospitals fear having to close their doors or severely restrict services if the government paid people to get a private plan with abortion coverage or offered exchange plans with abortion coverage. The question isn’t really how much of the premium or government aid goes towards funding abortions. Your “rider” idea, though a pragmatic compromise, would also be unacceptable. Catholic hospitals simply cannot take the risk of government intervention or lawsuits for refusing to provide contraception or abortion services. When the Catholic bishops say they will shut Catholic hospital doors rather than risk this scenario, they are quite serious.
Some in the pro-life camp think that health-care reform is merely stealth FOCA. This contention spreads beyond litigation against Catholic hospitals. Catholics contend that a just government, in every facet of ideology and operation, must protect human life according to an unconditional rejection of abortion. As you’ve noted, the bishops are quite supportive of health-care justice. But the absolutely uncompromising stand against abortion demonstrates that the Church will sacrifice every good of health reform for abortion, and demand that its laity do likewise.
The current health insurance system is a drain on individuals and hospitals, but the Church can’t call on “double effect” here since direct taking of life can never provide good for an individual and society. I am sure that many Catholics, laity and hierarchy, truly want an end to the waste and manipulation of private care as it is.
I also desperately want to see massive reform in the private sector. But I also must contend with the conflict of Catholic doctrine, and this is why I (and many others) must accept no compromises, even the most rational, ethical, and equitable.



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praesta

posted August 13, 2009 at 2:44 am


From my earlier post,
That amendment would also likely make it so citizens who got any government financial help for health care would only be allowed to buy private insurance plans that don’t cover abortion.
These are your words, Steven, not mine. Here are the italics.



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