I will come right out and say it. No federal funding for abortion procedures should be stipulated in the healthcare legislation now being deliberated in Congress. It pains me to say that because on principle I am pro-choice. The decision should rest with the doctor and the woman, the father, perhaps the pastor and definitely not the government.

I realize this position is contradictory because it penalizes women who cannot afford abortion. Basically, I’m saying let’s keep the status quo under the guidelines of Roe vs. Wade and the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, that explicitly prevents the federal government from using tax dollars to fund abortion through Medicaid.

Abortion is the most emotional among the numerous obstacles facing Congress in its struggle to pass healthcare reform. The House bill and the Senate drafts both include a government option or at minimum a co-op for health insurance coverage. This is where it gets murky, leading many pro-life legislators to insist provisions of The Hyde Amendment be written into the new legislation.

“Unless you can specifically exclude abortion, it will be part of any federalized healthcare system,” said Charmaine Yoest, executive director of Americans United for Life.

Nineteen of the 52 conservative “Blue Dog” House Democrats threaten to scuttle the entire healthcare reform effort unless their demands outlying federal funding for abortion procedures are met. Republicans are using the abortion issue to drive a wedge between the Democrats and the Obama administration.

The White House is trying to remain neutral. “I think that it’s appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings and not get distracted by the abortion debate,” President Obama said in an interview with CBS News last week.

When asked about abortion prohibitions in the bill, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said last week that “a benefit package is better left to experts in the medical field to determine how best and what procedures to cover.”

I’m trying to be pragmatic. It would be a crime if the entire healthcare reform package is killed because of the abortion issue. It would change nothing if the liberal Democrats went along with the Blue Dogs and possibly even win support of a few moderate Republican senators.

Legislation of this sort never pleases everyone. And for those pregnant women on Medicaid, their options would be the same as they have been for the past 33 years. It isn’t fair to them. Never has been. But, politics and reality don’t always go hand in hand.

JERRY K. REMMERS, TMV Columnist
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shannonlee
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shannonlee
7 years 1 month ago

Don’t worry, pro-choice and gay rights issues has been tossed out of the agenda by the new liberal majority. They understand that these two wedge issues could hurt them in 2010 and 2012.

Kastanj
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Kastanj
7 years 1 month ago

This fills me with loathing. Up to a certain point in the pregnancy, an abortion is a completely uncontroversial procedure.

PWT
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PWT
7 years 1 month ago

Abortion at any stage is controversial to many many Americans – you should really try to read a little more.

hawaiisurf9990
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hawaiisurf9990
7 years 1 month ago

since when Kastanj? that might be your opinion but I don’t believe that killing a child a week or month earlier makes it any less immoral.

JSpencer
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JSpencer
7 years 1 month ago

“Abortion at any stage is controversial to many many Americans” . . . people who in most cases should be minding their own damned business.

frdmbased
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frdmbased
7 years 1 month ago

“‘Abortion at any stage is controversial to many many Americans” . . . people who in most cases should be minding their own damned business.”

No, not if those people are having to pay for it with taxpayer dollars. Really it is an issue best left to the states. Of course, first the states need to get rid of all the federal mandates for which they are having to pay and break their budgets.

roro80
Guest
7 years 1 month ago
While the argument presented by the post is certainly well thought-out and logical, on the other hand, most private insurance programs do cover abortion. While I would certainly believe this is much less because of a firmly held belief by insurance companies that women deserve the right to choose than because it’s much cheaper to cover an abortion than it is to cover a pregnant person and then a baby, it remains the case that abortion is covered under most policies. My point is that offering up a program to compete with private insurance while not covering a completely legal,… Read more »
Ryan
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Ryan
7 years 1 month ago

I see. You want the decision to be made by the woman and her doctor, while opposing a policy which allows more women to make that decision. I’m not sure which is more depressing – that you’re willing to throw poor women to the wolves or that it’s probably about as much as you can hope for.

Kastanj
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Kastanj
7 years 1 month ago
“Abortion at any stage is controversial to many many Americans – you should really try to read a little more.” It shouldn’t be controversial before a certain point. Before a certain stage the developing fetus is as legally “human” as the appendix or a toenail clipping. Before that stage, an abortion is akin to removing a tumor – that might not be PC, but it’s true. It’s a procedure that most certainly can be funded as it is a great relief to the afflicted. That’s what bothers me about America: everyone, left and right, seem committed to make an issue… Read more »
redbus
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redbus
7 years 1 month ago
The embryonic heart, according to Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., starts beating 22 days after conception. Why is that important? Although there is a good case to be made for life beginning at conception, more can agree that life ends for a human (at any age) when the heart stops beating. So, in the same way, many believe that life begins when the heart starts beating. This is not a toe-nail; it is not a tumor. It is a human being. The Hyde Amendment, forbidding the use of federal dollars to fund abortions, should stand, whatever the health care bill ends up… Read more »
ChrisWWW
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7 years 1 month ago

Redbus,
So if someone gets an artificial heart, they are officially dead?

shannonlee
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shannonlee
7 years 1 month ago

I’ve seen heart cells beat in a petry dish all by their lonesome…does that mean I’m a murderer when I stop feeding them and they die?

I’ll tell you what makes a heart beat….a whole bunch of cardiac muscle cells get together..and when there are enough of them, they decide to throw a party…and that flexing makes the heart beat.

The whole beating heart argument is not valid.

PWT
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PWT
7 years 1 month ago

JSpencer: it’s my business because my money is going to help pay for it.

Kastanj: I guess that you haven’t spent much time in church during your, likely, short lifetime.

roro80
Guest
7 years 1 month ago
Alive or not alive, a 22 day old blastocyst is certainly not a citizen, and certainly not in a position to demand that the living, definitely-a-person woman carrying it must give up her bodily autonomy to make sure it remains alive. In fact, we cannot legally force anyone to give up their own bodily autonomy (say, give a kidney) for the purpose of keeping a definitely-alive adult person living. So not only are we conferring full citizenship upon said 22 day old blastocyst, but we are giving that blastocyst more rights than living, breathing people — the right to demand… Read more »
emperatrix
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emperatrix
7 years 1 month ago
Legally we can and have impinged upon the bodily autonomy of citizens. The most obvious examples being conjoined twins; quite often we force the dominant twin to remain attached (and by some accounts suffer impaired development) until the other twin grows strong enough to survive separation. In a broader sense the government reserves the right to draft my body for military service and while serving has the right to abrogate my bodily autonomy with vaccines, blood draws, etc. In like manner there is a legal right for the government to infringe upon bodily autonomy in other circumstances, e.g quarantine.
casualobserver
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casualobserver
7 years 1 month ago

Exactly, PWT…………..when the liberals start putting their money where their mouth is, I’ll start giving their opinions credence. If they would only step up to the plate and pay for the abortions themselves, there would be a huge falloff in the public’s resistance to the overall issue.

roro- there is no disadvantage to the soon-to-be-nonexistent public option becasue the woman with private insurance is “disadvantaged” too by having to pay the premiums or work at a job that pays the premiums as part of her compensation for that work.

ChrisWWW
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

“when the liberals start putting their money where their mouth is, I’ll start giving their opinions credence. If they would only step up to the plate and pay for the abortions themselves, there would be a huge falloff in the public’s resistance to the overall issue.”

Next up, red states can repay the blue states for the Iraq War.

roro80
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7 years 1 month ago
casual: “roro- there is no disadvantage to the soon-to-be-nonexistent public option becasue the woman with private insurance is “disadvantaged” too by having to pay the premiums or work at a job that pays the premiums as part of her compensation for that work” That same argument could be made for any covered treatment on any private plan. The only logical conclusion from this line of reasoning is to do away with all insurance coverage, and just have everyone pay for each and every doctor’s appointment and treatment out-of-pocket. I guess it could work — if we’re ok with just letting… Read more »
Kastanj
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Kastanj
7 years 1 month ago
“So, in the same way, many believe that life begins when the heart starts beating. This is not a toe-nail; it is not a tumor. It is a human being. The Hyde Amendment, forbidding the use of federal dollars to fund abortions, should stand, whatever the health care bill ends up looking like. Don’t use my tax dollars to end innocent life.” There is only one true death – the loss of the lattice of electric activity in cerebral matter. Our mind, our selves or our soul (or our existence – I don’t care to find the perfect term) is… Read more »
Kastanj
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Kastanj
7 years 1 month ago

“If they would only step up to the plate and pay for the abortions themselves, there would be a huge falloff in the public’s resistance to the overall issue.”

No, you’re going to pay as well, because abortions are no more morally troublesome than a vasectomy provided it happens before a certain point in the gestation.

JSpencer
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JSpencer
7 years 1 month ago
“JSpencer: it’s my business because my money is going to help pay for it. – PWT IF it’s money your concerned about; then you’ll be paying more for an unwanted pregnancy carried to term than an abortion in the first trimester. If it’s being associated with an immoral procedure that worries you, then we’re all damned for our monetary support of the Iraq invasion anyway. Again, if it isn’t your body, it isn’t your business. If on the other hand it IS your body, then it’s the business of you and your physician. That said, I agee with Jerry, any… Read more »
Jazz
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7 years 1 month ago
This article represents an important discussion, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s a difficult concept for me to discuss in short, concise terms, but it represents exactly why it’s important to talk about the reasons why we shouldn’t be talking about that. (Can I submit that one to The Daily Show?) I”m one of those annoying “moderate pro-choice people” that everyone hates. I absolutely refuse to get into the whole abortion debate here again for the 1000th time, but I reluctantly support a woman’s right to an abortion up to the point of fetal viability, and also support certain… Read more »
casualobserver
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casualobserver
7 years 1 month ago
If the war lasts another five years, it will cost nearly $1.4 trillion, calculates Linda Bilmes, who teaches budgeting at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. That’s nearly $4,745 per capita. Her estimate is thorough. She includes not only the military cost but also such things as veterans’ benefits and additional interest on the federal debt. Chris, based on my tax return for any of the last 5 years, I am confident I have paid for my share, plus your share, plus the share of every other liberal on this thread and undoubtedly funded 1,000 welfare abortions to… Read more »
roro80
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7 years 1 month ago

casual — well, it’s not publicly funded now. Consider this an appeal to your generosity.

Jazz — So talking about which procedures should be covered under a public option while in the process of discussing said public option is somehow inappropriate?

Jazz
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Oh, come on, Roro. The so called “public option”is pretty much dead at this point,and let’s be thankful for that. If there’s going to be help for low income people, then great. Let’s do it. I’m just saying that inserting abortion into the debate is silly. Let’s leave abortion coverage out of whatever plan is developed and let sleeping dogs lie.

kathykattenburg
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kathykattenburg
7 years 1 month ago

The Hyde Amendment, forbidding the use of federal dollars to fund abortions, should stand, whatever the health care bill ends up looking like. Don’t use my tax dollars to end innocent life.

You have the government supporting your moral preferences on the uses of your tax dollars, though. Aren’t you the lucky one. I wish the government would support *my* moral preferences on the use of *my* tax dollars. Unfortunately, I helped to pay, over the years, for every human being killed by U.S. bombs in every war fought or supported by the U.S. since 1968 (when I turned 18).

roro80
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7 years 1 month ago
I keep hearing on this site that the public option is dead — where do you get that? Isn’t that kind of the meat of the entire health care reform idea? Maybe if you say it often enough it will be true? Just from this very post: “The House bill and the Senate drafts both include a government option or at minimum a co-op for health insurance coverage.” If it is the case that the public option is dead, the entire post makes no sense. Trying to “insert” a health care issue into a health care discussion doesn’t seem “silly”… Read more »
kathykattenburg
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kathykattenburg
7 years 1 month ago
We seem to be edging closer to a bipartisan proposal that eliminates the disastrous “public option” and some other bad moves while expanding needed health care provisions for those who need, want and truly can not afford it. Whatever else you could call a health care reform proposal without a public option, without a surtax on the wealthy to pay for it, and without an employer mandate, you cannot call it bipartisan. You could call it your dream come true, and I could call it my nightmare, but you cannot call it bipartisan. The prefix “bi” in bipartisan means “two,”… Read more »
roro80
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7 years 1 month ago
See, Kathy, this is what’s wrong with the Dem’s gameplan. They try to start out by proposing something reasonable. The Rep’s know that if you start out with something crazy ridiculous extreme right-wing, then the compromise in the end will come out more right leaning. This is why I think single-payer should still be on the table — not that it’s really all that crazy, but it is a huge and extreme change from status quo; a public option would look as moderate as it is if that were the case. We all know that whatever the Dems came up… Read more »
Jazz
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7 years 1 month ago
Kathy: “Whatever else you could call a health care reform proposal without a public option, without a surtax on the wealthy to pay for it, and without an employer mandate, you cannot call it bipartisan.” You’ve apparently never heard of the blue dogs. What would you call a plan which none of the Republicans or the moderate Dems support that has a government owned and operated plan which once again plans on taxing the wealthiest Americans (like everything else) to pay for everyone else, and with a govt. boot to force employers to abandon their current plans to carry it,… Read more »
pacatrue
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pacatrue
7 years 1 month ago

Remmers isn’t saying he thinks that abortions should not be covered. It’s clear he believes they should. What he’s arguing is that he isn’t willing to give up all of health care reform for this procedure that sets such emotions high. For the people who think it should be covered, is your position that if it’s not covered then you prefer the status quo (where it’s not covered)?

nicrivera
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7 years 1 month ago
will come right out and say it. No federal funding for abortion procedures should be stipulated in the healthcare legislation now being deliberated in Congress. It pains me to say that because on principle I am pro-choice. The decision should rest with the doctor and the woman, the father, perhaps the pastor and definitely not the government. I realize this position is contradictory because it penalizes women who cannot afford abortion. Actually, I don’t think your position is contradictory at all. On the contrary, I believe it is people who call themselves “pro-choice” but want to force taxpayers to pay… Read more »
Silhouette
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Silhouette
7 years 1 month ago

I completely agree with the author here. Only he forgot something. If we don’t fund abortions we absolutely should create a much larger fund for the placement, rearing, education and material needs of all the new unwanted children until they reach 18 that will be born to teenage girls… fathered in some cases by the girls’ brothers, uncles, fathers, stepfathers or the guy down the block that raped them.

Plan ahead and put the money where your mouth is. That’s what I always say.

redbus
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redbus
7 years 1 month ago
Silhouette has proposed something constructive, i.e. support for those who carry a child to term. It seems a crying shame that there are so many childless couples who practically go bankrupt on fertility treatments when simultaneously there are countless unwanted, unborn children aborted in the name of “choice.” How about taking the money that would have gone to a fertility clinic and use it to give an adopted child a great start in life in an adoptive family. The only ones who don’t win in this scenario are the abortion clinics, since they lose the revenue that they so obviously… Read more »
pacatrue
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pacatrue
7 years 1 month ago
redbus, first up, you are basically saying that abortion providers don’t provide abortion procedures because they believe that abortions are sometimes the right decision or that women have a right to the procedure, but instead that they’ve rigged up some sort of trick to make money, and are trying to talk women out of carrying a pregnancy to make a buck. Is that really your perception of things? That the passion on the pro-choice side (matched on the pro-life side) is all about bringing in some greenbacks? Next, I’ve only done a cursory glance, but the basic cost of a… Read more »
redbus
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redbus
7 years 1 month ago
Pacatrue – Yes, I believe that the almighty dollar is behind much of the abortion lobby. There is a vested financial interest in having a woman abort her “fetus” vs. carrying the child to term. The amount of money you quote is eye-opening. If a clinic can schedule 3 abortions Monday to Friday, fifty-one weeks per year, then even using your lower figure of $ 1,500.00, the clinic will generate $ 22,500.00 per week, or $ 1,147,500.00 annually. That is one clinic. Now put one hundred of those clinics across the nation, and you’ve generated a nice little business, all… Read more »
redbus
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redbus
7 years 1 month ago

That’s three abortions daily, M-F

rlhailssrpe
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rlhailssrpe
7 years 1 month ago
Nicrivera defined the issue. Subsidizing anything will never make it rare. Government subsidizes, per se, increase any activity because it removes the cost barrier, “I don’t care; the government will pay for it.” Government funding destroys the argument that the decision must be solely left to the person, and their doctor. Proponents now want the government to be in the bedroom, with cash. However, abortion is only one of many medical costs which are the direct result of bad behavior, as defined by some one. Booze, drugs, obesity, reckless gun safety and driving are examples. Viagra costs may be another.… Read more »
frdmbased
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frdmbased
7 years 1 month ago
From rlhailssrpe “Must we pay for Viagra and abortion? As drafted, this redistribution of American societal wealth, health care reform, will bankrupt us, the costs are unsustainable. Subsidizing undisciplined sex will only accelerate this certain outcome. The sole basis for excluding abortion is cost containment, we can not afford it. Conversely, if we taxed abortions; they would indeed become rare, which is Obama’s stated policy. It is a hard decision, but if, “people will do it anyway” is valid, then,”let them pay for it” may be the only realistic response from society. It is logical.” Excellent analysis! Now, could we… Read more »
DLS
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DLS
7 years 1 month ago
Once again, I tell you so. I’ve said for months what’s obvious — the expansion of the scope of federal provision of health care to other than the elderly eventually will include child-bearing-age females, and that will reintroduce the subject of abortion, which will be unavoidable. You have been warned, _again_. * * * Actually correcting the problems with Medicare today (including its eventual financial failure if not corrected) should be the first thing undertaken before expanding the scope of federal health care (which itself should be considered in the light of current and future economic conditions), but the libs… Read more »
DLS
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DLS
7 years 1 month ago

“Really it is an issue best left to the states. Of course, first the states need to get rid of all the federal mandates for which they are having to pay and break their budgets.”

Constitutional federalism has been politically incorrect for ages. Don’t expect a return to it any time soon.

DLS
Guest
DLS
7 years 1 month ago

“You have the government supporting your moral preferences on the uses of your tax dollars, though.”

Just like laws against murder, merely subject to a great deal more division and controversy.

DaMink
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DaMink
7 years 1 month ago

Since one of our founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson said “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Thomas Jefferson I do not believe any tax funds should be used for abortions. Thomas Jefferson was right. Those who favor abortion should be the ones to fund them. Those who oppose it should not have to. This is a moral issue not a political issue. See how many supporters would agree to that. I would guess zero! JWM

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