The debate over health care reform is coming down to the wire now, and many crucial issues are still in play.
The most important, from my perspective, is abortion. The current bills in Congress would all cover elective abortions as a feature of health insurance plans, and would either directly or indirectly pay for elective abortions with federal money — that is, our tax dollars. One of the the worst things about this is that elective abortions will be defined as “health care”, even though it is the only medical procedure that is specifically designed to cause the death of a human being. That is a gross injustice that must be opposed with all our strength.
Another terrible thing about this whole debate is the level of misinformation that is being spread around by the bills’ supporters. The Speaker of the House claimed last month that the health care bill “does not expand any funding for abortion.” That is flat out false. Under federal law, no federal funds are spent on elective abortions — none at all. However, the House bill specifically authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (who happens to be pro-abortion) to include elective abortion as a mandatory benefit in the so-called “public option” — federally funded — health care plan. It also allows private health plans that cover elective abortion to receive government funding, and requires that every part of the country have at least one private plan that covers elective abortions.
Administration spokesmen also continue to falsely state that the Hyde Amendment would prevent federal funding for elective abortions. But that provision, which limits Medicaid funding for abortion to those cases where it is necessary to preserve the life of the mother, or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, just does not apply to these new health care reform bills. That has been demonstrated time and time again, and yet the Administration continues to spread this misinformation.
Public funding for abortion is not just a terrible injustice in theory, it’s deadly in practice. If there is one thing clear from history, it’s that the number of elective abortions increases when the government pays for it. By restricting public funding, we’re saving lives.
In September, the President made a solemn promise to the American people in his address to the joint session of Congress. He said, “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
The time has come for the President to prove that he is a man of his word. The time has come for the members of Congress to prove that they are worthy of holding public office.
And the time has come for us to stand up and be courageous Christians. Our US Bishops have called upon all parishes to spread the word about the problems with the current health care bills, and to call our people to action. If you haven’t done so yet, please contact your Congressional representatives about this bill. You can do so through the Catholic Advocacy Network of the New York State Catholic Conference, or the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
The debate is coming down to the wire. Lives are at stake.