While we have entered a New Year that looks very different on the calendar, the running political debate looks very much the same. Will Congress pass some version of President Obama's
"health care reform" agenda, and if so, what will it look like?
Curiously, the issue of abortion has become the last remaining obstacle to the passage of President Obama's federal health insurance bill. With the passage by the U.S. Senate of Majority Leader Harry Reid's health care proposal on Christmas Eve, legislative leaders must now work to resolve differences between the monstrous bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
All that will be hammered out in a conference committee between key leaders in both legislative chambers. It appears that House leaders have agreed to concede the
defeat of the so-called "public option," the government-managed health care plan included in the House bill but eliminated by the Senate. That leaves one thorny lingering issue--how abortion coverage will be treated in the federal government's regulation of private insurance health plans.
Contrary to the claims of Senator Reid and the White House, the bill approved by the Senate still includes federal support of abortion. The legislation still permits federal subsidies and tax credits to help underwrite health insurance plans with abortion coverage. The legislation still requires that health insurers who offer abortion coverage
must collect an abortion premium from every enrollee regardless of their sex, age, or family status.
The "pro-life language" agreed to by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska proved to be worthless. The language allows states to prohibit abortion coverage in private health insurance plans offered in their state. However, that would require passage of a law by the Missouri Legislature. This would be very difficult, with the need to overcome a certain filibuster in the Missouri Senate, and the prospect of a veto by Governor Jay Nixon. Even if Missouri passed such a law, Missouri taxpayers would still be subsidizing abortions in other states with the tax dollars they send to Washington, D.C.
Pro-life physician and U.S. Senator Tom Coburn
of Oklahoma had this to say about the "Nelson Compromise":
"This agreement, which was allegedly reached after weeks of gut-wrenching negotiations, is an elaborate charade...It is an historic and radical shift that will require taxpayers to pay for abortion. The American people ...will hold accountable anyone who defends sacrificing the unborn on the altar of political expediency."
The pivotal question now is whether the House of Representatives will vote down a final bill out of the conference committee which fails to include the Stupak Amendment. That amendment, offered by Congressman Bart Stupak
of Michigan and approved by the House, prohibited any taxpayer subsidy or support of abortion coverage. The Stupak Amendment specified that if
abortion coverage was going to be included in any health
care plan, it had to be purchased with a separate rider which covered the entire cost of the procedure.
There are yet other issues of continuing concern to the pro-life community in any final resolution of a health care bill. The Senate bill bans discrimination by any health plan against health care providers because they refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortions. But the language does not prohibit a government entity from doing so. There continue to be provisions in both the House and Senate bills which suggest the rationing of care to those who are in advanced years and in medically fragile condition.
The essential political question is whether the 64 Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment in the House will withstand pressure from the White House and their party leaders and demand inclusion of the Stupak language in the final bill. One of those 64 Democrats who voted for Stupak was Congressman Ike Skelton of Missouri.
Regardless of where you live in Missouri, we encourage you to contact Congressman Skelton. Tell him that Missouri citizens do not want their tax dollars paying for the killing
of unborn children. Congressman Skelton's website is set up such that you cannot contact him by e-mail unless you live in his district. Yet you can deliver your message by contacting one of his federal or local offices at the following numbers:
Washington, D.C. - (202) 225-2876
Blue Springs - (816) 228-4242
Jefferson City - (573) 635-3499
Lebanon - (417) 532-7964
Sedalia - (660) 826-2675
We also urge you to contact your own Congressman or Congresswoman. You can do so by e-mail by visiting this web address:
As we have stated before, a small percentage of abortions are currently paid for through health insurance. If abortions are routinely covered and paid for through health insurance
plans, it will only increase the availability and frequency of abortions. If the government is financing or subsidizing the provision of abortions, it will institutionalize this evil practice as another government entitlement that every American gets to pay for. This is a moral calamity for our nation that must be averted. Please pray for our elected officials that they will not force American taxpayers to be unwilling contributors to the slaughter of the innocent.