Religious Zealots Come Out Against Health Care Reform
August 28, 2009 - 11:30am ET
Here they go again. Religious people—enjoying their right to practice their beliefs as they see fit—trying to take that right away from the rest of us. This time they are coming out in force against health care reform.
USA Today reports that:
“Conservative Christian groups on Wednesday ramped up opposition to health care reform, saying the current system ‘has problems’ but ‘it is working.’
“Members of the newly formed Freedom Federation, comprised of some of the largest conservative religious groups in the country, say they oppose taxpayer-supported abortion, rationed health care for the elderly and government control of personal health decisions...
“On abortion, Federation members said they are concerned that although the word ‘abortion’ does not appear in the draft bills, it will be paid for by the government under the proposed reform.” [Emphasis added]
At the same time, The New York Times details how Catholic bishops are also trying to derail health reform, even after years of fighting for it:
“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been lobbying for three decades for the federal government to provide universal health insurance, especially for the poor. Now, as President Obama tries to rally Roman Catholics and other religious voters around his proposals to do just that, a growing number of bishops are speaking out against it.
“As recently as July, the bishops’ conference had largely embraced the president’s goals, although with the caveat that any health care overhaul avoid new federal financing of abortions. But in the last two weeks some leaders of the conference, like Cardinal Justin Rigali, have concluded that Democrats’ efforts to carve out abortion coverage are so inadequate that lawmakers should block the entire effort…
“The bishops’ backlash reflects a struggle within the church over how heavily to weigh opposition to abortion against concerns about social justice.” [Emphasis added.]
Factcheck.org has looked into what the House health reform bill says about abortion coverage and found the following:
“The House leadership’s bill (H.R. 3200) actually made no mention of abortion when it was introduced. Johnson refers to an amendment to the bill adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee July 30. Abortion rights proponents characterize it as a compromise, but it hasn’t satisfied the anti-abortion side. Offered by Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California, the amendment was approved narrowly by the committee, 30 - 28, with most but not all Democrats voting in favor and no Republicans backing it. The Capps amendment states that some abortions ‘shall’ be covered by the ‘public option’ plan, specifically those types of abortions that Congress allows to be covered under Medicaid, under the so-called ‘Hyde Amendment,’ which has been attached regularly to appropriations bills for many years. These are abortions performed in cases or rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.
“As for other types of abortions, the Capps amendment leaves it to the secretary of Health and Human Services to decide whether or not they will be covered...
“The Capps amendment does contain a statement—as we noted in an earlier article—that prohibits the use of public money to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. That would still allow the public plan to cover all abortions, so long as the plans took in enough private money in the form of premiums paid by individuals or their employers. The Capps language also would allow private plans purchased with federal subsidies (‘affordability credits’ for low-income families and workers) to cover abortion.” [Emphasis added]
Since an amendment prohibiting public money from being used to cover abortions has already been approved, why are religious groups still so concerned about health care reform? It seems clear they want to use the threat of derailing reform as a weapon to push through a very broad attack on a woman’s right to choose. They want to prohibit any plan that receives government subsidies from covering abortions.
According to FactCheck.org:
“Supporters of reproductive rights argue that this would cause some women who now have abortion coverage to lose it, by forcing private insurance companies to drop abortion coverage from plans so that they can be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. For example, NARAL Pro-Choice America: states
“Anti-choice members of Congress aren’t satisfied with the Capps compromise. They want to impose a new nationwide abortion ban in the private health-insurance market by prohibiting such coverage in the new health-care system—thus taking away coverage from women who already have it.”
The real tragedy of this devious attempt to strip abortion coverage away from the millions of women who already have it, is that these pro-lifers seem to care more about the abortions that might be covered than they care about the estimated 22,000 actually born people that die each year because they have no health insurance.
Now why doesn’t that sound very spiritual to me?
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