How exactly would creating the largest expansion of federally-funded abortion in this country since “Roe v. Wade” lower health care costs for all Americans and give them better access to health care?
The Senate health care bill, which President Obama is now insisting Congress should examine in an up-or-down vote, is supposed to bring costs down and guarantee access to affordable health care to Americans – those are its primary directives. But the bill allows for what is essentially a federal bailout of the abortion industry. That constitutes an unnecessary increase in costs to American taxpayers.
More than a year after Congress began work on health care legislation the bill is still in doubt because congressional leaders simply haven’t been honest with the American people – and each other – about several of its components. But the most striking example contradiction by Democrats in Congress comes over the bill’s funding of abortion.
Buried deep in the bill is a provision of $11 billion (with a ‘b’) for community health centers or “CHCs.” An analysis by the National Right to Life Committee explains:
“CHCs can only use these so-called ‘Section 330 funds’ for purposes within the scope of their grants, but one can assume that grant applications that included (for example) ‘reproductive services’ would not be deemed objectionable under the Obama Administration, and abortions could be subsumed under various other classifications as well.”
Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood – which already receives $350 million in taxpayer funds (a third of its annual budget) according to its last annual report – meet the criteria for these “CHCs.” Planned Parenthood alone performs over 300,000 abortions every year.
Additionally, and even more telling, there is no language whatsoever in the bill restricting the use of funds for abortion. And because it is a standalone piece of legislation that is not covered by the Department of Health and Human Services budget, abortion providers can use these federal funds to perform abortions completely protected against the Hyde Amendment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to insist that the bill doesn’t contain abortion funding, yet many lawmakers from her own party stand ready to kill the bill because it does just that. If Democratic members of Congress are willing to torpedo legislation that a) has been a tenet of their party for two decades, and b) that is the centerpiece of President Obama’s domestic agenda, over the issue of abortion funding then the American people have every reason to believe them and not Ms. Pelosi.
She, President Obama, and other Democratic congressional leaders have received many thousands of dollars in election-year contributions from interest groups and political action committees active in the abortion lobby. While supporting and contributing to some Republican candidates, it is no secret the abortion lobby is a key base constituency in the Democratic Party – the party that has relentlessly pushed for a larger government role in health care under the mantra of increased access and lower costs.
Given this provision, the health care bill would effectively force Americans to subsidize abortions, something they fundamentally and overwhelmingly reject. How did we get all the way here from the goal of increasing access and lowering costs?
Apart from other concerns raised about the health care bill, it is (ironically) abortion that could be the biggest obstacle to final passage. If the president and Congress want to be able to take credit for getting their signature measure passed before the next election, they need to make sure abortion is completely out of it.
Penny Young Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest conservative women’s organization.
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Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).