The debate over health-care reform is now entering a new phase. This week, the Senate Finance Committee voted for Sen. Max Baucus’s health-care bill, which sets up a possible Senate vote on the legislation later this month. Aggressive negotiations are underway on how to handle abortion funding.
Democratic leaders claim that all they want is to maintain the “status quo” on abortion. In reality, maintaining what we have now isn’t even on the table. To do that, a health-care bill would have to explicitly prevent federal dollars from being used for elective abortions. Provisions that would have done that were killed by all five committees that have handled health-care reform bills this year. Instead, the abortion compromise in the works is a provision modeled on an amendment Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif.) added to the House bill.
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The only honest way to maintain the status quo is to add a provision modeled after the Hyde Amendment to any health-care reform that becomes law.
Why is the Capps Amendment being sold on the false premise that it would maintain the status quo? Because otherwise the American people would not go along with it.
A Rasmussen poll released last month showed that only 13% of Americans want the health-care reform bill to use tax dollars to fund abortions. A Pew Research Center poll two weeks ago showed that support for legalized abortion has dropped to its lowest level in years to 47%, down from 54% last year.
If Democrats really want to maintain the abortion status quo, they would drop the Capps Amendment and add a Hyde Amendment to explicitly exclude funding abortion. The Capps Amendment takes us toward a new era of unprecedented federal abortion funding.
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