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Senate version of health care bill expands taxpayer funding of abortion Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 -- 1:00 AM

To the editor:

The Senate version of Obamacare, despite rhetoric to the contrary,would greatly expand the federal government's role in abortion coverage and even direct payment for abortions at taxpayer expense.

The House version which includes the Stupak/Pitts language would negate all of the following problems in the Senate version:

• There is no "public option," but an Office of Personnel Management is created which would administer two or more multi-state insurance plans, one of which would be subject to abortion limitations but the other open to covering or being required to cover elective abortions.

• Private plans that cover abortions would qualify for a federal subsidy for individuals eligible for the subsidy. Every enrollee would be subject to a requirement that he or she pay for an abortion "surcharge" to cover elective abortions.

• Many of the inadequate abortion "restrictions" are temporary and tied to whatever Congress decides they should be in the annual appropriations process.

• There is no permanent ban on abortion funding in Indian health programs.

• There is no language to prevent any agency or official given authority under the bill from issuing administative mandates that would require any private health plan to cover abortions. For example, under the Mikulski amendment adopted by the Senate, a federal official merely has to make elective abortion a "preventive" service and its coverage would be mandated.

• A direct subsidy of $7 billion for Community Health Centers could be used to fund the performance of abortions in those centers.

• There is no language to protect health care providers from being penalized if they decline to participate in abortions.

For these reasons, it is imperative that Congress include the Stupak/Pitts language in the final version of the bill to prohibit involvement by the federal government in providing abortion coverage and direct funding of abortion at taxpayer expense.

Barbara Lyons, executive director, Wisconsin Right to Life, Milwaukee