Thus far, amendments introduced to explicitly exclude abortion have been defeated, yet the Capps amendment passed, which would protect abortion coverage (the details of how, as I understand it, depend on the reauthorization of the Hyde amendment). FOCA seems to be creeping into the health care reform bill. Be aware! With a majority of Americans describing themselves as pro-life, it would seem to make sense to take abortion funding off the table and proceed with a discussion about health care.
***Updated to add Red's comment here, which I forgot to mention***
I think it is important to note that one of our good friends from Princeton, an aspiring doctor, asked us to post this and notify our readers about the risks of this bill. I am frightened for good doctors like her, who may have their career greatly affected by the unwillingness to participate in abortion.
You can read more about the potential of health care reform to fund abortions from the Catholic News Agency:
As Congress prepares to consider President Obama's health care reform this week, the legislation is drawing opposition from both sides of the aisle. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, ten lawmakers warned that the current draft of the health care bill will force taxpayers, businesses and insurance providers to pay for abortions.
Reaction from Democrats first became public when a group of 19 congressmen, some of them "Blue Dog Democrats," sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the end of June.
In their letter, the group of 19 warned Pelosi that they would not vote for any health care reform bill that either mandates government coverage for abortion or allows the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package.
"We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan," the congressmen wrote.
"Obamacare is the greatest threat ever to the lives and wellness of unborn children and their mothers since Roe v. Wade was rendered in 1973," Smith charged.
Recalling President Obama's comment to the Pope about wanting to reduce the incidence of abortion, the New Jersey congressman said that the "ugly truth is that his so-called health care reform bill, if enacted, will lead to millions of additional dead children and wounded mothers."
The group of representatives, which included doctors and pro-life women, asserted that the funding of abortions under Obama's health care restructuring will increase the number of abortions.
Agreeing with the 19 Democrat congressmen, Rep. Smith cited a Guttmacher Institute study that found "20%-35% of Medicaid eligible women who would chose abortion carry their pregnancies to term when public funds are not available."
"Government funding, facilitation, promotion and mandates will cause abortion rates to skyrocket," he warned.
"Obamacare opens the spigot of public funding and does more to facilitate abortion than any action since Roe. This is the big one!" Smith cried.
In addition to direct funding of abortion by the government, Smith explained that the legislation "vests new, huge, sweeping powers in an Obama-appointed committee tasked with establishing 'essential health benefits' that all plans must include."
These "essential benefits" include abortion, Smith said, citing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and remarks Obama made as a senator.
"Obamacare will also exponentially expand the number of abortion mills in the country by requiring that any insurance provider must contract with 'essential community providers, as specified by the Commissioner’," he said.
Smith pointed out that "Planned Parenthood, an organization that aborted over 305,000 children in 2007 alone, launched a multimedia blitz on June 17th, billing itself as an 'essential community health care provider.'"