Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Abortion and Health Care Reform

I recognize that one of the stickiest issues in the intersection between faith and politics is that of abortion. Though I disagree with some positions taken by self-described "pro-life" people, I do believe I understand their position and can appreciate where they are coming from.
There has recently been considerable publicity and energy over whether or not the current reforms before Congress would actually encourage more abortion. I am aware of 0 people on either side of this debate who actually would advocate for more abortions. Thus, this is a considerable charge.

However, I believe that much of the rhetoric around abortion and health care reform has failed to live up to reality. Thus, I encourage all to read this article explaining just what the Senate Health Care Bill (the only one that is on the path to approval) does and doesn't do.

Charge:   Health care reform will allow federal funding for abortions through community clinics:

Fact:   "None of the 1,250 Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs, that would receive the billions in money through the reform bill offer abortion services."

Charge:    Health care reform will force American's to subsidize abortions.

Fact: " The Senate bill with the Nelson language says an insurance plan in the exchange can offer abortion coverage, but a woman who wants it must pay for that element of the coverage by a separate check that goes into a separate account."
Charge: All American's will be required to pay a special fee to cover abortion:

Fact: "The reality is only those who elect to choose a policy that includes abortion would have to pay the separate fee, and that is designed to keep federal dollars from potentially paying for abortions."
Charge: Abortion will be forced on states where voters have chosen to make obtaining an abortion difficult.

Fact: "The Senate bill also explicitly allows states to bar any policies in the federally created insurance exchanges from providing abortion coverage."

Furthermore, there are a number of provisions in the bill that are likely to reduce the number of abortions. The bill
"includes key elements of the Pregnant Women's Support Act that have long been sought by abortion foes: One is to appropriate $250 million over 10 years to create a federal Pregnancy Assistance Fund, which will provide assistance to pregnant and parenting teenagers and college students, as well as pregnant victims of domestic violence; another Senate provision not in the House bill would increase federal financing for adoption by $1.2 billion over the next two years."
Additionally, there is some evidence showing that people with insurance coverage are far less likely to receive an abortion than those who are uninsured.

Thus, fair minded people may oppose health care reform for a variety of reasons. Abortion, or the fear of increased abortions, ought not be one.

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