Can Federal Dollars Fund Abortions?;Friday Lightning Round

The following is a rush transcript of the July 16, 2010, edition of "Special Report With Bret Baier." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


CHARMAINE YOEST, AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE: The problem is that an executive order doesn't trump what Congress does, and so the fact that Congress passed the healthcare reform act without any ban to federal funding of abortion in it really left with us a huge gaping loophole we are seeing come out in Pennsylvania and other states working to implement the law.

REP. BART STUPAK, D - MICH: This is the first real test we've seen the high risk pools, and when you see states like New Mexico reversing themselves as the federal government said based on the executive order we cannot give you money to fund abortions, and they're reversing their state position, that is a big victory for right to life.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Pro-life groups are worried. They think there is a loophole here in the federal healthcare law that may have states when they implement this law essentially provide federal funding for abortions in high risk pools are the taxpayer funded insurance pools, the coverage plans, for uninsured Americans who have preexisting conditions.

Initially, New Mexico and Pennsylvania had said that the plans would include abortion coverage, but then they reversed course.

What about this controversy, and is it true that there is a loophole? Lets' bring in our panel, Juan Williams, news analyst for National Public Radio, K.T. McFarland, Fox News national security analyst -- we welcome her to the panel -- and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Juan, Bart Stupak who obviously fought for the president to sign this executive order, says this is a win that New Mexico and Pennsylvania backed off. Pro-life groups say listen, there is still a loophole. What about it?

JUAN WILLIAMS, NEWS ANALYST, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: From the pro-life point of view there is a loophole. They were upset with the law was passed and they thought Bart Stupak was a sucker. They thought he was played for the fool when he signed on to the business about an executive order.

And the point they are making is the executive order has no staying power when you get to the state level or once the Congress might decide to act. That is their concern.

The other side of the story is that much of this would apply to what they call the high-risk pool, for people who are poor and don't have health insurance, who would now be eligible to get health insurance under the president's healthcare plan.

Those folks should be eligible because if the states are setting the standards, and remember, this is nothing that the federal government is doing, state standards for Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, whatever, it is up to the state. If the state sets the standard why should people be ineligible?

The response, of course, from President Obama and the White House so far is we're going to tell places like New Mexico, Pennsylvania, don't do it. And Pennsylvania and New Mexico have complied so far. But you can understand why those who are strong supporters of pro-life might be concerned.

BAIER: K.T., what do you think?

K.T. MCFARLAND, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I find this confusing. I think this was sold to pro-choice Democrats as, look, the federal funding is not going to be used for abortion, period. Now you're hearing this sort of, well, maybe, under these circumstances and these states. To me it's a bait and switch. It was sold one way and now it turns out it's something else.

It's a system, and sort of pattern of bait and switch. We'll do healthcare, right, because it will save money. Now it's going to cost billions. We're going to do the stimulus plan because it will get us jobs and reduce unemployment. Well, unemployment is still high. It's a typical bait and switch.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If it was, it was one that was pretty obvious to most. The healthcare bill they way it was written did have a large loophole to allow federal money used for abortion.

Stupak and the "Stupak six" went against it and they said it's such an important principle we are willing to stop healthcare reform even though it's a principle we believe in to save the pro-life principle. And then he signed on in return for executive order, which I think is really paper thin.

We already had, as of this instance, two states prepared to fund abortion with pressure at the last minute, have reversed themselves. But it tells you how tentative is this.

As Juan indicates if it is not in the law, the executive order can be repealed by this president or the next president. It doesn't have the force of law. The law itself has an obvious loophole.

And I think Stupak was taken. He couldn't stand the heat on this. If he wanted to stand really firm on stopping any subsidies for abortion, he should have voted against the law. It was quite clear what he had to do.

BAIER: And it's not in the law, the executive order tying this all together.

Another development with federal regulations went into effect this week dealing with the healthcare, stipulating that all electronic health records include a body mass index, a BMI in every electronic health record by 2014.

So what this means, and it's confirmed by HHS officials today that in fact that is in the regulation, that perhaps every American eventually will have to get a BMI, a body mass index?

MCFARLAND: Women have lied about their weight on their driver's license for years. This takes away the ability to do that. In one sense it's funny.

But in the other sense, you know, what if we do, I mean this is the first bit of information we're collecting. So what if in the end we do start rationing healthcare? You are too fat. You have a lousy body mass index.

BAIER: Are you pointing to me, K.T.? Do you want to come back on the panel?


MCFARLAND: No, I'm one of the people that lie on my driver's license. Or if you a smoker, you don't get the same healthcare attention that you get if you are a non-smoker.

KRAUTHAMMER: They are going to use this to ration food, not healthcare.


BAIER: I mean, we're chuckling about this.

WILLIAMS: I'm worried about that, now.

BAIER: We're chucking about it, but, literally, Juan, is it the beginning of something that's much broader. When you talk about the federal regulations that are buried deep in some of the huge documents, could we be seeing the beginning of something that is a lot broader than that?

WILLIAMS: I think it's appropriate to be concerned, but I think it's speculative at this point. We don't know that.

There is a lot of information in the records. I think the bigger threat, the one that would concern me, is that they put this now electronically available. It doesn't matter if Bret Baier lives in Washington, D.C., or Bret Baier moves out to San Diego, that your medical files are available.

What if somebody violates them? All the time, people get your Social Security and credit card information and violations -- because your medical information I think is more personal than your credit card or Social Security number. And that suddenly is a worry because it would impact your employment opportunities if you had some debilitating illness. That could be a problem.

BAIER: Charles, last word.

KRAUTHAMMER: This wasn't in the healthcare bill. This was in the stimulus bill. The idea of standardizing healthcare and making it electronic is a good idea. But the federal government is using raw power to enforce it on anyone. If a hospital doesn't join the program, it loses all kind of Medicare and Medicaid money, so obviously it will. It's extortion.

And the thing is there are small hospitals or small practices where it's not practical to go highly electronic, but because of the threat and the power of the federal government, they are going to have to do it. That's what happens when the federal government essentially asserts its role in places it shouldn't be.

Yes, if it wants to facilitate a country-wide system that is a good idea. But to force it on people is a bad idea. It includes all the mandates as to what you are going to measure, and that ought to be a doctor's decision, not the federal government's decision.

BAIER: It's all in the regulation. We'll follow this one.

You voted on our homepage this week, for the first topic in the Friday lightning round. The winner is coming right up.

And don't forget, if you are an iPhone or Android user you can now download the FOX News application, including a selection from "Special Report." Get the latest news and "Special Report" videos in the palm of your hand.

We'll be right back.


BAIER: Every week on page, viewers vote on what topic we should discuss this in the Friday lightning round. The first topic as of 3:00 eastern, winner is, drum roll -- the Black Panther fallout. There you see it wasn't even close -- 5,700 votes for Black Panther fallout.

We're back with the panel. This, of course, is the Obama administration’s handling of the federal voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Party (sic) in Philadelphia.

And this came out largely after a Department of Justice lawyer, J. Christian Adams, said that the Department of Justice essentially had stopped moving forward with this case; specifically, from above, political implications that they would not go forward with the case against an African-American being the person involved here.

A lot of coverage on it here on Fox, not a lot elsewhere. And Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, was asked about it, and he said I haven't paid attention it to.

We're back with the panel. Juan?

WILLIAMS: I think it's a small case, but I think it's deserving of attention to this extent. Any act of voter intimidation in this country deserves major attention and should be stopped.

But I think it's a small case in this regard. I think behind it is this kind of, you know, idea that oh, my gosh there is a black president and a black attorney general, and now they're getting back at the Bush Justice Department, which was charged by not only the inspector general there but others with not prosecuting some of the civil rights division cases that they should have been.

So now the idea is these guys now are not prosecuting cases in which the black people are charged with potentially discriminating against whites. My sense is this is a big political fight. Does it amount so much in terms of substance -- no.

BAIER: Even K.T., if you have J. Christian Adams coming out, a former Justice Department attorney saying this was bigger, broader, mandate from above.

MCFARLAND: If this guy had been wearing a white hood and carrying a burning cross instead of black beret and a Billy club, we'd still see protests in Philadelphia. I think it is a real issue.

And the disappointment of it is that this is a president who a lot of people supported it because they thought he was a post-racial president. We want to get beyond that. And yet so much of what President Obama is doing is through the eyes of race, even talking about Al Qaeda. Now Al Qaeda attacking Uganda was an example of the fact that Al Qaeda doesn’t value blacks as much as they do white lives. It's all just sort of skewed. I think a lot of us just want to get passed it.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think I have to weigh between the two of you. I'm not sure it comes from Obama. I doubt he's involved himself in this case. I think it has to do with the civil rights division. There are people there who are committed to defending African-Americans because of the history. That's what it was all about at the founding.

And now that we're 50 years later, there are some who might resist trying to prosecute case against African-Americans. If so, and that's what Adams says he heard in the meetings, if so then I think it's a cautionary tale and I think it will end as a deterrent to any race consciousness in how they deal with the cases in the future.

BAIER: Next up, the British ambassador to the U.S. says it was a mistake to release the Lockerbie bomber. He was released because doctors said he had prostate cancer, likely only three months to live. It turns out he had much longer to live.

And when he returned to Libya, he was welcomed home. Now senators want a probe to find out if BP, among others, other problems also lobbied to get the bomber released. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I would not be surprised if oil companies lobbied. There is a long history going back decades of oil companies selling their souls, French Oil Company in Iraq, Arm & Hammer and Occidental in Libya. This is almost universal for oil for concessions, et cetera.

The blame resides with the British government who could resist lobbying or accept it. It made the decision to accept the release. Apparently the Obama administration signed off on it. In the end, the buck stops with governments and not lobbyists.


MCFARLAND: I would like to know who gave that diagnosis. Is that British socialized medicine that they were off by ten years? He's not going to die in three months, he's going to die in ten years?

BAIER: Juan?

WILLIAMS: BP looks to me like they have dirty hands here. I just can't -- it's unbelievable to me that for a prisoner transfer, they would say to consider our business interest. It should have had nothing to do with the fact that this man was being in prison for having killed so many people.

BAIER: Quickly, down the line, the Iranian scientist gets back to Tehran. The U.S. pays him $5 million. He can't get the $5 million. What is the deal here?

WILLIAMS: He's trying to make a case he can see his seven-year-old son. He just wants to see his family. That’s all there is.


MCFARLAND: There are two versions of this. One is he was a double-agent, that he had been feeding us intelligence and we had been running him for a number of years. He was one of the people that may have fed us intelligence to led to the faulty national intelligence estimate two years ago about the Iranian nuclear program.

On the other hand, the other interpretation is he is just a guy that changed his mind. Either way, we look like dopes.

KRAUTHAMMER: With stories involving spies, I won't -- I never believe either side. Everybody is lying. Either the lie is a way to cover up his role his role as a triple-agent or we're lying to cover our rear end because we botched this guy and he turned on us and he played us. Nobody knows. Nobody will ever know.

BAIER: He doesn't get the money, by the way.

That's it for the panel.