Roundup: What Happened To Abortion in Health Care Reform?

How can both sides be so angry about abortion in health care reform when only one side is actually losing anything?

Mad. Outraged. Shocked. According to the press, abortion rights advocates are up at arms over news that abortion will not be covered in the insurance pool being created for the sickest of the uninsured.  Yet as angry as we seem to be over this unexpected change in the rules, it seems that the anti-choice movement is even more outraged — in their case over the fact that somewhere, somehow, the government is still funding abortion. 

How can both of these facts be true?

Politics Daily tries to clear it up:

The Department of Health and Human Services and the states are in the process of writing regulations and developing plans to implement the new law.
Anti-abortion forces are worried that loopholes will be inserted in the regulations regarding abortion while abortion rights advocates, such as Keenan, are “outraged” that abortion coverage is banned under the newly-created “Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan,” which is meant to assist those who can’t get or afford private health insurance.
Last Tuesday, the National Right to Life Committee, a leading anti-abortion organization, issued a statement asserting that HHS “quietly approved a plan” submitted by Gov. Ed Rendell for Pennsylvania to “to set up a new “high-risk” insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March “that will cover any abortion that is legal” in the state.

So, totally clear now.  Anti-choice are upset because ANY money might be used, and pro-choice are upset because we’ve now got a more restrictive policy codified by the federal government.

But how did we get here?  The AP gives a quick rundown:

The issue flared after at least one state — New Mexico — initially decided to allow coverage of elective abortion in a newly launched, federally funded program to provide coverage for high-risk uninsured people turned away by private carriers.

Abortion foes also raised questions about Pennsylvania’s plan, but state officials said the criticism was baseless.

Trying to head off more problems, the Health and Human Services Department announced last week the program will not cover abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger — exceptions traditionally allowed under federal law.

That’s a more restrictive policy than will be generally applied under Obama’s new health care law.

Starting in 2014, the overhaul will allow federally subsidized health insurance plans to cover abortions, but only if policyholders pay for coverage separately and the money is segregated from government funds.

Politico traces how the pitchforks really came out via the National Right to Life Campaign, who took the New Mexico and Pennsylvania issue, ran with it, and basically forced the White House to cave to pressure.

Talk dominated conservative news outlets over the last few days that New Mexico and Pennsylvania were going to allow elective abortions as part of their applications for access to the new federal insurance pools. Among the sparks for that round of stories was an AP report in which New Mexico officials initially said elective abortion would be covered under its policies, then started walking that back.

But the National Right to Life Committee sparked an uproar by claiming a similar issue was arising in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania officials strenuously denied that and Democrats accused the NRLC of creating an issue out of whole cloth aimed at testing an executive order President Obama signed last March.

Healh and Human Services tried to tamp out the flap, which followed a year of debate over the Stupak amendment about what would be covered in the bill. Critics argued this week that the abortion restriction provision was mushy, and HHS and Rep. Stupak pushed back.

“As is the case with FEHB plans currently, and with the Affordable Care Act and the President’s related Executive Order more generally, in Pennsylvania and in all other states abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered,” HHS said in a statement. “Our policy is the same for both state and federally-run PCIP programs. We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan at both the state and federal levels. The contracts to operate the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan include a requirement to follow all federal laws and guidance.”

Stupak (D-MI), an anti-abortion Democrat, called the NRLC approach “recycled scare tactics” aimed at generating news coverage.

“This is the latest example of some right to life groups politicizing life issues in an effort to undermine health care reform,” Stupak said. “The President’s Executive Order makes clear that federal funds may not be used for abortion under the Affordable Care Act – including the (high-risk) insurance pools currently being implemented in Pennsylvania and states across the country.”

Of course, this doesn’t stop the right from continuing to pursue its erroneous claims.  Bombastic rhetoric like that of the American Thinker needs to be read to truly be appreciated:

When it appeared a few sentimental pro-lifers jeopardized Obamacare, it didn’t take much to sway the easily fleeced Bart Stupak and seven left-leaning lackeys. In order to pass health care reform the President lied to gullible pro-life Democrats, signed a phony executive order, and swore health care would not fund abortion.

Obama might as well have pulled a dirty tissue out of his pocket, called it an executive order and after getting the credulous to agree, crumpled it up and filed it in the “easily deceived” category.

Besides the lies, Barry has, under duress, legally bound pro-life Americans to tax-tithe to the First Church of Obama’s most highly esteemed charity, government funded abortions.  If Barry gets his way, which he always does, regardless of religious affiliation or moral conviction Americans will fund feticide.

Obama claims when it comes to ending a pregnancy, “The decision generally is one that a woman should make.” Yet, the President’s dictatorial decrees deny choice to those who don’t support abortion.  Obama is intolerant toward conscientious objection and denies religious exemption. Barry’s policies force the resistant to hand the abortionist the suction and scalpel by financially aiding and abetting the executioner

So there you go.  The White House has once more thrown reproductive health aside in order to attempt to compromise with a group to whom no middle ground will ever be found.  And once more, women suffer for it.

Mini Roundup: A bus driver in Austin claims he was fired for disapproving of abortion.  Really, he was fired for refusing to drive his bus route, because he assumed the passenger he was transporting was trying to obtain an abortion.

July 16, 2010

Missouri Restricts Abortions – Courthouse News Service

Groups Blast First Federal Funding of Abortions – Christian Post

3 Congress members accuse US of funding Kenya vote – The Associated Press

Anti-abortion group endorses O’Donnell for Delaware Senate seat – The Hill

Bus driver claims abortion views led to his firing – Austin American-Statesman

Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Handel on gays, abortion and ethics –

Planned Parenthood Gives Award to Pro-Abortion “Catholic” Speaker Nancy Pelosi –

Elective Abortions Are Not Covered’? –

Obama’s executive order on taxpayer-funded abortions: Not worth the paper it … – The Hill

Missouri Abortion Restrictions Become Law without Governor’s Signature – Ms. Magazine

Obama Keeps Promise on Prohibiting Federal Funding of Abortion – First Things

Haridopolos Renews Push Against Tax Funded Abortions–and Continues to Raise … – Sunshine State News

US bishops welcome HHS statement on abortion coverage, express grave concern – Catholic News Agency

ObamaCare’s Taxpayer-Funded Abortions Exposed  –

Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell Gets Pro-Life Endorsement –

Lead Republican on Judiciary Committee Suggests Kagan Misled on Abortion –

Governor Nixon Signs Bills, Pockets Abortion Law –

Maryland Becomes Second State to Offer Federally Funded Abortions under Obamacare – CNSNews

Mont. sex-ed controversy could open parents’ eyes – BP News

TODAY’S QUESTION: Does Nebraska’s new abortion law make a woman’s right to … – Columbia Missourian

Obama bans abortion for women in high-risk insurance pools – OpEdNews

Beck falsely suggests Ginsburg supports “cleansing” America of “unwanted … – Media Matters for America

Did abortion views lead to firing? – Austin News

Birth Control Effectiveness Linked to Weight –

Faith and contraception: For LDS, it’s the couple’s choice – Salt Lake Tribune

Washington Revisits Quashing of Pharmacy Conscience Rights – First Things

What the White House’s HIV strategy needs to work – Washington Post

18th International AIDS Conference to open in Vienna – UNAIDS

July 17, 2010

Boehner leverages healthcare reform law to raise funds for anti-abortion group – The Hill

Obama Administration Applies Stupak Amendment to High Risk Pools – Huffington Post

Questions still linger, but critics proved wrong so far – The Age

New pushback from the left – and right – on health care reform – Politico

Pro-life OB-GYN offers to help abortion doc – News Sentinel

Sessions Questions Kagan Role in Abortion Veto –

Abortion Rate Declines in Michigan in 2009 – Michigan Radio

Candidates provide viewpoints on abortion rights –


Washington Revisits Quashing of Pharmacy Conscience Rights – First Things

Uzbek women accuse state of mass sterilizations – The Associated Press

Plan B plan irks Gregoire –

July 18, 2010

On Abortion, Minority Leader should defer to Nana Oye Lithur –

Obama lied, babies died – American Thinker

Pediatrician views  – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

States try new tactics to restrict abortion – Sacramento Bee

Republican candidates play up differences on abortion –

Sarah Palin sets off a ‘mama grizzly’ war in the GOP race for governor – Atlanta Journal Constitution

Abortion rights activists shocked, mad at Obama White House over abortion … – Chicago Sun-Times

Pro-Life License Plates Available in Massachusetts – Lifesite

Abortion arises as issue in US Senate race in Kan. – NTV

The Resurrection of Charlie Crist – Newsweek

Arguments set on Okla. abortion law – CNBC

Abortion an issue in Moran-Tiahrt – Topeka Capital Journal

Abortion Rights Advocates “Outraged” at Obama White House Over Health Coverage – Politics Daily

Abortion Law Hearing Set For Monday – KOCO Oklahoma City

Human-rights abuses undermine fight against AIDS, world health body says – Globe and Mail

Economic woes put HIV-AIDS advances at risk – CNN

New blood test helps identify HIV status of newborns – Times of India

Mothers tempted to abandon babies in Moscow – BBC News

Why must African women suffer for giving life? – East African

July 19, 2010

News poll: GOP’s gov hopefuls locked in 3-way race – The Detroit News

ObamaCare Abortion Funding Has Begun – The New American

Senate hopeful Bender says he’s got “the ability to get it done” – The Union Leader

Elena Kagan should be in prison, not on bench –

Abortion foes win a round in health overhaul – The Associated Press

Everett Koop urges senators to block Kagan – USA Today

Forget contraceptives, go natural, church teaches – Detroit Free Press

Wash. State Pharmacy Board Backs Pharmacists Who Refuse To Dispense Emergency … – Medical News Today

Bill Gates: World Has Historic Opportunity to ‘Change the Face of AIDS’ – PR Newswire

In US cities, HIV linked more to poverty than race – The Associated Press