Thursday, September 17, 2009

White House Won’t Support Exclusion of Abortion Coverage

It’s a positive sign that our President said he won’t include federal funding for abortion coverage in any health care overhaul. But honest players across the political spectrum know that if abortion coverage is not explicitly barred in health care reform legislation, it will eventually be mandated.

So it is very disconcerting to learn from American’s United for Life that the administration demurred on the possibility of specific language barring abortion coverage in health care reform at a recent White House meeting. From their release, my emphases:

Today Americans United for Life Action's President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest met with senior White House officials Melody Barnes and Tina Tchen.  Dr. Yoest called on the White House to clarify President Obama's recent statement of support for keeping abortion funding out of health care reform.  After the meeting, Dr. Yoest stated that the White House remained noncommittal on explicit language excluding abortion from the health care bill. 

"After the meeting, we remain deeply concerned about abortion funding and the abortion mandate in health care reform.  Ms. Barnes reiterated the President's statement about opposing abortion funding in his address before Congress last week but the White House would not commit to language that explicitly excludes abortion from health care reform.  The reality on the Hill right now is that the health care bills do include abortion funding. 

Without a specific statutory amendment that includes an explicit ban on federal funding and coverage, taxpayers will be paying for abortion.  Including abortion in health care is something the pro-life movement will oppose vigorously."  

Dr. Yoest provided the White House with a brief from the Americans United for Life legal team that documents why anything less than a explicit ban on abortion funding and coverage will allow government-funded abortion.    

Dr. Yoest also delivered a petition with over 39,000 signatures from pro-life Americans telling President Obama that they urge him to veto any bill that does not specifically forbid mandating insurance companies to cover abortion.  The petition also urges the President to veto any bill that could make taxpayers responsible for directly or indirectly paying for abortion.

We have seen in recent weeks how even a local EEOC official can mandate what is covered in even private insurance at even religious institutions. In August, a local office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that a private Catholic College was required to provide prescription contraceptive coverage for its employees, claiming that not doing so was discriminatory against women. The EEOC found of Belmont Abbey College that:

“By denying prescription contraception drugs, Respondent (the college) is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives… By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.”

There is nothing stopping a local EEOC official, judge or bureaucrat from demanding abortion coverage in government supported or even private health provision on the same basis, i.e., only women get abortions.

Our President may be entirely sincere in his claim not to want an expansion of abortion through health care reform. Without a specific exclusion, even sincere words are meaningless.