Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health care reform and abortion

Abortion needn't have been an issue in the debate over health care reform, but it is. There are significant constituencies that would favor reform if they were guaranteed that, as the President promised, "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion." If that were to be true, there would be no objection to including language in the bill to insure that fact. But there is objection as William McGurn explains. Bart Stupak, a Democratic Congressman from Michigan, can't persuade his party leaders to allow the question to come to a vote.
.... In his Notre Dame speech, President Barack Obama called for "open hearts" that would help us find "common ground" to "reduce the number of women seeking abortions." During his more recent address to a joint session of Congress, the president was even more specific about health-care reform, promising that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions."

That is just what Mr. Stupak is trying to do with an amendment to the health-care legislation would explicitly ban federal funding for abortion. Here's the problem: His own party won't let him bring it to the floor for a vote. It's a replay of earlier this year, when the leadership blocked a similar Stupak effort on a financial appropriations bill that ended up removing restrictions on D.C. taxpayer funding for abortion.

"The most frustrating thing is we go to the Rules Committee, they smile and say 'thank you,' and then we're left at the door," says Mr. Stupak. "At least give us a chance to let people debate and vote." ....

Of course, it's hardly news that Democrats find dealing with a pro-lifer in their midst tricky. What is astounding is the virtual silence from the chorus that thumped so loudly for Mr. Obama's words at Notre Dame. Presumably, Mr. Stupak is their man—a courageous and committed Democrat who wants health-care reform to pass. Yet the liberal religious folks who claim to be pro-life as well as pro-Obama have largely left Mr. Stupak standing alone. .... [more]
William McGurn: The Democrats' New Bob Casey Problem - WSJ.com

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