Six of Missouri's nine congressmen have taken a firm stand against the inclusion of abortion coverage in federal health care legislation being promoted by the Obama Administration. Congressmen Todd Akin, Roy Blunt, Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Ike Skelton,
and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson voted for an amendment prohibiting the use of federal health insurance funding for elective abortions.
The amendment was offered by Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, and was approved by the U. S. House of Representatives by a vote of 240-194. This was an impressive show of support for the pro-life position, with 64 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in supporting the amendment.
Missouri Congressmen Russ Carnahan, William "Lacy" Clay, and Emmanuel Cleaver voted in favor of taxpayer funding for abortion.
The Stupak amendment bans the use of federal funds for abortions in the so-called "public option" health care plan. The language reads: "No funds authorized or appropriated [by the bill] may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health
plan that includes coverage of abortion." Exceptions are made for instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Individuals may still purchase separate supplemental coverage for abortions, but can only do so as long as such coverage is paid for entirely from non-federal funds and is not subsidized by federal tax credits (called "affordability credits") created under the bill.
Throughout the debate over the Obama health care proposal, proponents have insisted that the various plans did not include abortion coverage. Yet amendments were repeatedly defeated that would
have spelled that out in clear terms. As it turns out, the health care bill championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
actually required that a monthly abortion premium be charged to all enrollees in the "public option" plan, as well as those selecting private plans participating in the Health Insurance Exchange established under the bill.
The fact that federally funded abortion was always a key part of the Obama health care agenda has been illustrated by the furious reaction of pro-abortion groups to the passage of the Stupak Amendment. President Obama
had promised the Planned Parenthood Federation of America that "reproductive health care" would be a centerpiece of federal health
insurance reform efforts.
Aside from the immoral consequences of forcing taxpayers to fund the killing of preborn children, the issue of health insurance coverage of abortion is huge. Studies have shown that less than 15 percent of abortions are paid for through insurance coverage. Establishing abortion as just another procedure covered under both public and private medical insurance plans would greatly increase the accessibility and frequency of abortions.
The Pelosi health care bill squeaked through the House on a narrow vote of 220-215, and the debate now shifts to the Senate, where the discussion will be more extended. Prospects there for the pro-life amendment and the "public option" bill itself are less promising. It is critical that Missouri citizens make known their sentiments to their U.S. Senators on the proposed "abortion bailout."
It is expected that Senator Kit Bond will likely oppose any government-run health insurance bill and at the
same time support amendments excluding abortion coverage. It is expected that Senator Claire McCaskill
will support a "public option" bill, and oppose a pro-life amendment.
Upon passage of the Stupak Amendment, McCaskill initially said she didn't think it would kill prospects for passage of a government-managed health care plan. She stated "this is just another example of having to govern with moderates...We can't turn our back on the fact that the reason we [Democrats] are in the majority is because states like...Missouri...sent Democrats to the Senate." Yet she has now backtracked and stated she could not support passage of the bill with the Stupak language.
We strongly urge you to contact Senators Bond and McCaskill and urge them to support the Stupak Amendment in the Senate.
Your response is vital. It is a blight on this nation's conscience that our nation's highest court has declared that the destruction of the life of an unborn child is a constitutional right. It would be a horrible injustice if our federal government would now bankroll the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent children each year.