Health care reform is hitting a wall, claims Catholic League president Bill Donohue, and if you want to know why, the answer is opposition to coverage for abortion.
According to Donohue, President Obama has thus far refused to ask Congress to pass an amendment to exclude abortion coverage from public funding because Obama is so committed to making the procedure more available.
Echoing observations made by pro-life advocates, the Catholic League president notes that only 35 percent agreed with Obama on allowing funding of abortions overseas and that a later Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life.
Despite these findings, Donohue charges that the president and his staff are so extreme that they are "apparently willing to sink health care reform before ever excluding abortion from the final bill."
As it tries to deal with the public backlash against the various health care proposals, the White House has created a "Reality Check" section to answer objections people have to the bills.
Noticeably absent from a list of objections that includes rationing, euthanasia, veteran’s care and private insurance, is the issue of taxpayer funding for abortions, notes Donohue. "There’s a reason for that—every time an amendment has been introduced to formally exclude abortion, it has been defeated."
Amendments to exclude abortion from any health care coverage were proposed by Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joseph Pitts (R-Penn.) but were voted down.
An amendment was later proposed by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was approved. The Capps proposal was billed as a compromise on the abortion issue, but it contained a provision requiring that at least one insurance plan in each ‘premium rating area’ would cover abortion.
Although the U.S. Bishops support health care reform, they have strongly voiced their objection to including abortion in health care coverage on two occasions.
Bishop William Murphy first expressed the bishops’ objections in a letter sent to members of Congress on July 17, saying that it was objectionable to make Americans "pay for the destruction of human life."
Cardinal Justin Rigali, the U.S. bishops’ pro-life chairman, followed up the earlier letter by writing on July 29 to Senate House Energy and Commerce Committee members. His message was: "Much-needed reform must not become a vehicle for promoting an ‘abortion rights’ agenda or reversing longstanding current policies against federal abortion mandates and funding."