- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rep. Lois G. Capps, California Democrat, claims her amendment to H.R. 3200, the health care reform bill, “prohibits public funds from being used” for elective abortions (“No abortion talk in healthy debate,” Letters, Thursday). This simply is not true.

Under the amendment, the secretary of Health and Human Services has the power to include all elective abortions in the “public option,” the government-run health plan offered nationwide. All Americans buying that plan must pay a premium specifically to cover such abortions, whether they want to or not. The premiums must be paid to the government, which will use them to pay for abortions. By anyone’s definition, that is using public funds for abortions, not to mention forcing Americans to pay for abortions they don’t want to fund.

Federal tax subsidies also will be used to support benefits packages that include abortion among covered benefits in both public and private health plans. This is contrary to the long-standing policy in all other federal health programs, including the federal employees’ health benefits plan under which Ms. Capps and her staff receive health coverage.

Ms. Capps says that “health insurance reform is not the place for re-debating abortion policy.” However, it is she who has incited the debate, and endangered this legislation, by using the bill to make this radical shift in federal abortion policy. Let’s end the debate by applying to this new federal program the same abortion policy that has long governed all of the other programs. Then Congress can get down to the business of trying to enact much-needed health care reform.

RICHARD M. DOERFLINGER

Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Washington

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