Abortion Fight Complicates Debate on Health Care

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As if it were not complicated enough, the debate over health care in Congress is becoming a battlefield in the fight over abortion.

Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion. And the abortion opponents are getting enough support from moderate Democrats that both sides say the outcome is too close to call. Opponents of abortion cite as precedent a 30-year-old ban on the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions.

Abortion-rights supporters say such a restriction would all but eliminate from the marketplace private plans that cover the procedure, pushing women who have such coverage to give it up. Nearly half of those with employer-sponsored health plans now have policies that cover abortion, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The question looms as a test of President Obama’s campaign pledge to support abortion rights but seek middle ground with those who do not. Mr. Obama has promised for months that the health care overhaul would not provide federal money to pay for elective abortions, but White House officials have declined to spell out what he means.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted September 29, 2009 at 9:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. William P. Sulik wrote:

I will go to prison before I pay for an abortion.

September 29, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
2. Already left wrote:

“...but White House officials have declined to spell out what he means. “

Probably because they don’t know what he means.

September 29, 1:42 pm | [comment link]
3. Billy wrote:

As Cohen said today in NYT, Obama means what he says, when he says it, and then he means what he says when he says the direct opposite later on.  In Jan, the Afghan War was a war of necessity.  In Sep it is not necessarily a war of necessity.  A few weeks ago he could not go to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics, because pushing for healthcare bill was too important.  Today it is not so important.  Apparently he says what is expedient at any given time but does not expect anyone to notice contradictions and inconsistencies.  Not sure why he believes he can talk this way, but I guess it could be a certain assurance that the MSM are not going to bring up the contradictions or that the public is so enthralled with him that it does not care.  I believe some of that charisma is wearing off, however, based on the latest polling numbers.

September 29, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
4. Jeffersonian wrote:

This is one of those no-middle-ground issues.  Abortion foes won’t accept a plan that has it, abortion boosters won’t accept one that doesn’t.  Here’s to hoping the issue scuttles the entire federal takeover.

September 29, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
5. Ad Orientem wrote:

My position is fairly uncomplicated.  The bill needs to be abortion neutral.  There should be a firm provision forbidding tax money be used for abortions.  There must be no provision requiring abortion coverage as an option in this so called marketplace for insurance.  And there must be a conscience clause protecting health care professionals from being required to act in a manner contrary to their religious convictions.

September 29, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
6. TiffanyG44 wrote:

There were many fights and debates on this reform but fortunately we have made it. Now when the year 2010 is finished we can say that this reform was the most important event of the last year. It has many advantages. First of all cheaper medications. Secondly it will be more insured people in our country. Moreover it is great for medicine students that they will be able to pass cna certification online. It is really great. Let’s wait and see what new health care system will bring in the new 2011!

January 6, 11:35 am | [comment link]
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