Who’s telling the truth about abortion funding in Health Care Reform Bill?

Cardinal Rigali says the bill does fund abortion and that those who say otherwise are pushing an “illusion.”

President Obama says the bill does not fund abortion and that those who say otherwise are guilty of a “fabrication.”

Who is right and who is wrong?

In a August 20 report, CNCNews compares statements made by and President Obama to answer the question.

Cardinal Rigal Cardinal Rigali laid out his position in a carefully reasoned and detailed argument presented in a pastoral letter sent to the U.S. House of Representatives on August 11. Here is his explanation:

“Because some federal funds are authorized and appropriated by this legislation without passing through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill, they are not covered by the Hyde amendment and other federal provisions that have long prevented federal funding of abortion and of health benefits packages that include abortion. The committee rejected an amendment to extend this longstanding policy to the use of federal subsidies for health care premiums under this Act. Instead the committee created a legal fiction, a paper separation between federal funding and abortion: Federal funds will subsidize the public plan, as well as private health plans that include abortion on demand; but anyone who purchases these plans is required to pay a premium out of his or her own pocket (specified in the Act to be at least $1.00 a month) to cover all abortions beyond those eligible for federal funds under the current Hyde amendment. Thus some will claim that federal taxpayer funds do not support abortion under the Act.

“But this is an illusion. Funds paid into these plans are fungible, and federal taxpayer funds will subsidize the operating budget and provider networks that expand access to abortions.”

President Obama not only disagrees with Cardinal Rigali’s conclusion that the bill funds abortion because it funds abortion providers, but in his short speech to a religious audience on BlogTalkRadio yesterday he said that those who say the bill funds abortion are not telling the truth.

Here is what President Obama said:

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate. And there’s some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness.”

“You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true. This is all–these are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation. And that is that we look out for one another. That I am my brother’s keeper and my sister’s keeper. And in the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.”

The committee referred to by Cardinal Rigali is the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Health Subcommittee amendment specifically states under 122 (4)(B): ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED.
Who’s telling the truth about abortion funding in Health Care Reform Bill?

“The services described in this subparagraph are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is permitted …”

Prior to the above, the amendment says that the public health insurance option “shall provide coverage for services described in paragraph (4)(B). Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the public health insurance option from providing for or prohibiting coverage of services described in paragraph (4)(A). Sub-paragraph (4)(A) says what is not permitted in exactly the same words as in (4)(B).

So what is prohibited? Nothing. Under this amendment, the government can and will provide publicly funded abortion service coverage to all eligible citizens.

The CNSNews report further demonstrates how the New York Times spun the amendment in order to deceive the public. The NYT stated that the Health Care Reform Bill would subsidized health insurance premiums of low-income people, but would not cover abortion services.
Yet, as we saw in the above amendment, it would be covered.

According to CNSNews, low income Americans are not the only ones whose would receive federally subsidized health insurance.

“Under the terms of both the House and Senate bills, it is not only “low income people” who will qualify for federal subsidies to buy insurance, but also people making up to 400% of the poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four). The bill will guarantee all such federally subsidized insurance purchasers the ability to buy an insurance to plan that covers abortions. Therefore, federal money will pay for abortion coverage.”

“To put it more bluntly, this health care bill will take money away from hard-working, decent, pro-life taxpayers and hand it over to insurance providers that pay doctors to kill unborn babies.”

Who then is telling the truth about abortion funding under the Health Care Reform bill? Cardinal Rigali and those like him are telling America the truth. Obama and his religious supporters are not.

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