Pro-life leader calls health care proposals a ‘radical departure’ from current abortion policy

Pro-life leader calls health care proposals a ‘radical departure’ from current abortion policy

Dr. Charmaine Yoest
Dr. Charmaine Yoest


Pro-life leader Charmaine Yoest has charged that a compromise now being considered for health care reform legislation would mark a “radical departure” from the past by sidestepping pro-life funding provisions and requiring every area of the country to have at least one health insurance plan that covers abortions.

Yoest, President of Americans United for Life, on Wednesday wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion essay that provisions which would have explicitly prevented federal dollars from being used for elective abortions were “killed” by all five legislative committees that have handled health care reform bills.

“Instead, the abortion compromise in the works is a provision modeled on an amendment Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif.) added to the House bill,” she reported, calling the amendment a “radical departure from the status quo.”

According to Yoest, at present the federal government does not pay into health care plans that cover elective abortions, nor are government health benefits used for such purposes.

Though 17 states presently pay for elective abortions, the Hyde Amendment prohibits states from using federal Medicaid matching funds to pay for abortions.

“The status quo now is that no dollar—federal or state—associated with Medicaid may pay for elective abortions,” Yoest wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

She charged that the Capps Amendment would sidestep the Hyde Amendment and other federal laws.

“It would make abortion coverage a part of the public option, funnel tax dollars to private health plans that cover abortion, and ensure that every area of the country will have at least one health insurance plan that covers elective abortion,” Yoest explained. “If this should happen, for the first time in more than 30 years the federal government would be in the business of funding the destruction of unborn human life.”

She dismissed as “a dodge” the Capps Amendment’s accounting mechanism that will supposedly ensure that federal dollars do not directly pay for elective abortions. She wrote that the amendment is being misrepresented to avoid the objections of Americans, only 13 percent of whom reportedly want health care reform legislation to fund abortions.

“The only honest way to maintain the status quo is to add a provision modeled after the Hyde Amendment to any health-care reform that becomes law,” Yoest added.

“If Democrats really want to maintain the abortion status quo, they would drop the Capps Amendment and add a Hyde Amendment to explicitly exclude funding abortion,” Yoest’s column concluded. “The Capps Amendment takes us toward a new era of unprecedented federal abortion funding.”

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