This letter comes to The Catholic Key from Missouri Right to Life President Pam Fichter. As negotiations continue in the Senate on health care reform, it is important to keep this important issue in the forefront even as many are occupied preparing fro Christmas:
Will Senator McCaskill Keep Her Promise?
With her vote against the Nelson-Hatch amendment, Senator Claire McCaskill has broken her promise to Missouri citizens. Senator McCaskill promised that she would not support legislation that included federal funding for abortions. The Nelson-Hatch amendment would have prevented funding for abortions in any new public option for health care and prevented federal subsidies for any plan that included abortion. Her vote against this amendment allows Senator Reid's health care proposal to retain such funding.
Senator McCaskill excuses her vote by saying that the Hyde Amendment already prevents such funding, and that the Nelson-Hatch amendment prevented women using their own money to purchase abortion coverage. Both statements are false.
The Hyde Amendment only prevents funding for abortion through the annual appropriations to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Cong. Hyde proposed this amendment in l977 in order to prevent taxpayer funded abortions through Medicaid. Prior to this amendment, over 300,000 abortions were performed each year through Medicaid. However, the Reid bill creates new streams of funding that would not flow through the DHHS so they would not be covered by the Hyde restriction.
The Nelson-Hatch amendment would not prevent women from purchasing coverage of abortion with their own money as long as no federal subsidies were also used to purchase that coverage.
Missouri taxpayers do not want to pay for abortion. We call on Senator McCaskill to keep her promise.
President, Missouri Right to Life