Loading
January 13, 2014
Obamacare and abortion
By Russell Shaw *

By Russell Shaw *

Four years ago, when passage or defeat of the Affordable Care Act appeared to rest in the hands of a small group of pro-life House Democrats, President Obama won their support for the health care plan with an executive order promising elective abortion wouldn’t be part of the program. Skeptics said the order wouldn’t do the trick.

They were right. The question now isn't whether the Obamacare will include abortion but how much abortion, for whom, and at whose expense.

Former Michigan representative Bart Stupak, who'd led the little band of House Democrats in negotiations with the White House, two years ago declared himself to be "perplexed and disappointed" at the violation of the executive order – and also, he added, of "statutory law" – then already beginning to take place.

Stupak, who’d chosen not to seek in 2010, was speaking in particular of the HHS Mandate – the Health and Human Services Department's rule for the implementation of Obamacare that would compel even some church-related institutions to cooperate in providing abortifacient drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees via their health plans.
Not surprisingly, the mandate has evoked heated protests from religious leaders, the Catholic bishops among them, as well as from some proprietors of commercial enterprises opposed to abortion on conscience grounds. The argument is that coercing conscience in this manner violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.

The Supreme Court in March will hear two cases brought against the mandate by private businesses, with the Justice Department arguing the pro-abortion side. Also certain to be before the court soon is a case or cases involving religious groups. As this is written, it could be the much publicized case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor or it could be some other.

By no means, though, is the HHS Mandate Obamacare’s only tip of the hat to elective abortion.

Experience has shown that in some places it can be difficult to impossible just to find out whether plans offered on the new federal and state exchanges cover the abortion procedure. That’s been the problem in New York and Minnesota, to mention just two.

In some states, too, all plans cover elective abortion, even though federal law requires that at least one plan be available that doesn't contain this coverage. Rhode Island and Connecticut are instances.

If someone ends up buying insurance that covers elective abortion, without knowing it or wanting it, he or she unwittingly is helping to pay for someone else's abortion. Legislation to remedy this problem has been introduced in both the Senate and the House but it thought to have little chance of passage.

That’s not all. The federal and state governments are contracting with community groups to encourage people to use the exchanges and show them how. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is one such group, with grants in the hundreds of thousands of dollars going to affiliates in Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, California, Montana, and the District of Columbia.

Addressing a Planned Parenthood conference last April, President Obama spoke with pride about the fact that the abortion movement's celebrated right to choose abortion was a part of Obamacare. People whose memories go back just a few years will recall a time when some Catholic apologists for Obama insisted that, even though he was pro-choice himself, he could be counted on to respect the consciences of others who disagreed. How wrong can you be?

Russell Shaw is the author of more than twenty books, including three novels and volumes on ethics and moral theology, the Catholic laity, clericalism, the abuse of secrecy in the Church, and other topics. He has also published thousands of articles in periodicals, among them The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, L’Osservatore Romano, America, Crisis, Catholic World Report, The National Catholic Reporter, and many others. From 1967-1987 he served as communications director for the U.S. Catholic bishops and from 1987-1997 was information director for the Knights of Columbus. He lives in Washington, D.C.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
21

Liturgical Calendar

April 21, 2014

Monday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Gospel:: Mt 28:8-15

Saint of the Day

Holy Thursday »

Saint
Date
04/21/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: