All three health care reform bills currently being considered by Congress would guarantee health coverage for abortion on demand and obligate American taxpayers to foot the bill.
Numerous courts have interpreted the exact language used in the current health care reform bills as requiring health insurers to cover abortion. With court precedent already set, abortion advocates in Congress and the Administration know that even without their including the word “abortion,” the proposals as written will mandate abortion coverage.
Under Congress’ current health care reform efforts, not only could the government mandate that individuals purchase health insurance, but it would dictate that a newly created “Medical Advisory Council” determine the specific minimum benefits that a private insurance plan must provide. This unelected and unaccountable body could act with the force of government to mandate coverage for so-called “preventive” procedures and drugs that undermine respect for life. For example, it could follow the lead of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said that abortion is just another form of birth control to “reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”
The bills before Congress not only permit states to fund “family planning measures” through the Medicaid program, but require health care plans to contract with “community provider” organizations such as Planned Parenthood to provide health care services.
While several pro-life Senators have offered amendments to ban taxpayer money from funding abortions, all but one HELP Committee Democrat has voted to reject the amendments. The rejection of attempts to keep abortion out of government-run health care confirms the Committee’s intent to force taxpayers to fund abortion.
Despite the insistence of Congress that all children be covered under some form of health insurance, none of the current health care reform bills cover unborn children under Medicaid.
The current health care reform bills establish Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) entities designed to compare various healthcare treatment options, drugs and procedures. Under the language of the bills, CER would effectively lead to rationing of care and outright denial of care in situations that the government determines are not cost effective. The sick, elderly and weak in our society should not be denied care based on a cost-benefit analysis.
Several HELP Committee Senators offered amendments to safeguard care for all Americans–regardless of age, life expectancy or quality of life. Yet these amendments too, as with those that would have kept abortion out of government-run health care, were rejected along party-line votes.
The health reform bills currently before Congress could strip providers of their ability to act according to their conscience. The draconian language included in the reform measures could mandate that providers perform abortions and prescribe drugs to patients or risk losing Medicare funding from the government. Congress is trampling upon the moral prerogatives of many in the medical profession by means of withholding vital funding.
Health care reform must provide broad protection for the freedom of conscience of all Americans, from providers to patients to religious entities. No one should be compelled to act contrary to his or her conscience in the payment for, provision of, or performance of health care.
Although Sen. Kennedy offered a successful amendment to his bill which would prohibit discrimination against medical providers who refuse, because of moral reasons, to perform abortions, the amendment and underlying bill still leave the door open to just such discrimination. For instance, providers who refuse to pay for or refer patients for abortion services are not covered under Kennedy’s amendment. Likewise, the amendment provides an exception for “cases of emergency,” which can be stretched to fit almost any situation, effectively stripping providers of any protection the amendment may have offered them. Medical providers need true rights of conscience protection and an ability to meaningfully object to performing abortions.