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Barry, I disagree that “any sensible health care reform” is going to have to cover, as you call it “reproductive health care,” or as I would say, “abortion.” Americans do not want their federal dollars paying for abortions. Let me set the facts straight.
You cite polling numbers from the pro-abortion groups Guttmacher Institute and National Women’s Law Center. I would note, however, that polling data from non-partisan sources show that Americans are increasingly opposed to abortion. A recent Gallup poll shows that for the first time since 1995, more Americans call themselves “pro-life” than “pro-choice.”
According to another recent Gallup, President Obama’s decision to overturn the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited federal funds from going to overseas “family planning” clinics that provide abortion services or counseling, was one his most unpopular decisions. Only 35 percent of Americans approved of his decision, while 58 percent disapproved. If American’s don’t want their tax dollars spent on overseas abortions, they certainly don’t want those dollars spent on abortions here at home.
Under the House health care plan, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (right now Kathleen Sebelius, known for her pro-abortion stances) and a Health Benefits Advisory Committee will be tasked with coming up with what “essential benefits” must be covered by all private and public health care plans. Given President Obama’s statement on the campaign trail that “reproductive care is essential care, basic care so it is at the center, the heart of the plan I propose,” it is likely that the “essential benefits” that they come up with will include abortion. Individuals and employers will be forced to have coverage that includes these essential benefits, or pay a tax penalty.
You trump the need for “choice” in your post – I agree. Americans should be able to choose a health care plan that does not mandate abortion coverage. They should also be able to choose to not have their taxpayer dollars fund a procedure that involves the taking of a human life.
This concern is generating bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. A growing number of Democrat lawmakers in the House have said they would vote to oppose a health care bill unless it explicitly includes language removing the abortion mandate from health coverage.
Finally, I think the issue is more complicated than simply wanting “health care to be equal for all.” It is even more complicated than saying “[w]omen have the Constitutional right to choose.” The Supreme Court has found a Constitutional right to privacy that includes the right to have an abortion. However, that right is subject to limitations, such as the government’s interest in “preserving and promoting fetal life.” (Gonzales v. Carhart)
For health care to truly be “equal for all” it must consider the need to preserve and protect the unborn. Under the health care plans being considered in Congress, state laws protecting the unborn, such as parental notification laws and informed consent laws could be preempted.
This is not equality and it is not what Americans want. Any health care reform legislation must include protections against taxpayer funding of abortions and mandatory abortion coverage. It must also respect and protect state abortion laws and the deep divide of conscience in the country of when life begins and that abortion takes a human life.
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