Obama may be caught in a lie — a lie to the pope, no less.
Obama told the pope in a visit last week that he was committed to reducing the number of abortions. Yet his administration is helping Democrats craft a health care bill that one House Republican says amounts to the Freedom of Choice Act on stealth.
Under the current draft in the House, the bill’s health care coverage requirements for every individual — set by the administration and known as minimum benefit standards — don’t specifically mention abortion.
It sounds harmless, and it’s meant to.
But history’s "most open and transparent" administration can effectively grant abortion “rights” by simply not mentioning the word.
House Republicans say precedent shows courts and administrative agencies assume abortion is included unless explicitly prohibited in the legislation. When Congress remains silent, it allows courts and agencies to, as Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) said in a statement, “mandate abortion.” It happened in the federal Medicaid statute, which required the famous Hyde Amendment to stop federal funding of abortions through Medicaid.
“Unless amended, …[the current] bill seeks to mandate abortion coverage for nearly every insurance plan in America,” Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) said Tuesday. “Every American will be forced to pay through these services, whether through premiums or tax rates.”
Basically, as Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) put it, if you pay premiums or taxes, you’ll be funding abortion. Smith also said the language of the bill as it stands would pre-empt state laws (such as parental notification).
So Obama plans to reduce the number of abortions by making them cheaper, more accessible, and penalizing insurance companies and employers that choose not to include the procedure in their health care coverage. Under the current draft of the bill, if individuals decide they want something other than the minimum benefit standards set by the administration, they have to pay a 2% fee. Employers pay an 8% fee.
The cost of abortions alone often reduces the number performed. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, an abortion costs anywhere from $350 to $900 in the first trimester, and it will probably be more expensive in the second trimester. Apparently at Columbia University, they teach you that lowering the cost of something means it will become rarer.
For a man known as a great orator, Obama has found countless ways and mouthpieces to say he thinks abortion is a right for every woman — without actually saying it:
Obama the presidential candidate: “I think it [health care] should be a right for every American.”
Obama the senator: “Reproductive care is essential care, basic care.” (Sound like something that will be included in a minimum benefit standard?)
Hillary Clinton, speaking for the Obama administration before Congress in April: “We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare.”
Obama thinks health care should be a right. He thinks reproductive care is basic care. And his Secretary of State, speaking for his administration’s foreign policy, says reproductive health includes access to abortion. Obama makes you connect the dots, but it’s clear his health care legislation essentially grants a right to an abortion.
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), an OB-GYN for over 30 years, compared Obama’s bill to a play known as the end-around in football, set up to trick opposing defenses.
“It was sneaky, it was tricky, and it almost always worked — it caught the defense totally off guard,” Gingrey said of the play’s success on his junior high football team. “That’s exactly what’s happening in this legislation.”
Later on, he said, “It’s really trying to pass the Freedom of Choice Act through this legislation.”
Each House Republican who attended the Rep. Joe Pitts’s press conference Tuesday on the bill infamously smells the rat in this legislation. They used both Obama and Hillary’s quotes above to show where the administration trends, and they have a solution for Obama to clear up his confusion: if you don’t want taxpayer-funded abortions resulting from this legislation, say so.
“I am calling upon the President today to step up, clarify his position on whether he wants abortion to be included in his health care reform,” Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) said.
Unfortunately, if he lied to the pope, he’ll probably lie to you too. It may take several lies to explain how he will reduce abortions by making them more affordable and more accessible.