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Opinion-The Health-Care Bill Will Increase Abortions In The U.S.

Don Nelson

Reno Gazette Journal

July 30, 2009

Massive increases in abortion, the largest since Roe v. Wade, are looming because health care proposals such as HR 3200, "America's Affordable Health Care Choice Act," will not only fund abortion, they also will mandate coverage of abortion on demand in virtually all of America's health care plans, preempt abortion-reducing state limitations and protections, and create an abortion clinic mandate. These proposals will reverse America's steady reduction in abortions.

HR 3200 might not use the word abortion, but unless Congress excludes abortion from being defined as an "essential benefit," the broadly worded mandatory categories of coverage will be interpreted by courts to include abortion. And that's how President Barack Obama and abortion advocacy groups believe it should be interpreted.

In July 2007, Obama told Planned Parenthood that "reproductive care is essential care, basic care, so it is at the center, the heart of the plan I propose." Private insurers will "have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care..." The Obama administration said "reproductive care" includes abortion.

HR 3200 also will create an abortion clinic mandate by requiring plans that use a provider network to ensure the "adequacy of such network" so enrollees have access to services covered. And once abortion becomes a federally mandated "essential benefit," networks will need to take steps, including establishing new abortion sites in the service area, to meet standards required by the "health choices commissioner."

HR 3200 will bring huge increases in abortion. The American taxpayer paid for 300,000 abortions every year between Roe in 1973 and 1976, before* the Hyde Amendment excluded abortion funding. In 1993, the Congressional Budget Office wrote that "the federal government would probably fund between 325,000-675,000 abortions each year" if taxpayer funding were resumed. It would be much higher because under HR 3200, populations receiving federally funded health care would be much larger than populations on which the 1993 estimates were based.

Abortion advocates' claims that 18 percent to 35 percent or even 50 percent of women who would have aborted did not abort because of the Hyde Amendment mean that there could be 200,000-500,000 more abortions every year. Sixty-nine percent of Americans oppose lifting the Hyde Amendment.

HR 3200 makes clear that standards in the bill or written by the "Health Choices Commissioner" will preempt state abortion laws. This could nullify limitations on abortion such as waiting periods, parental involvement and other laws that could be regarded as impeding access to a federally guaranteed benefit. (There wasn't room for this comment we submitted: These protections and limitations, along with Hyde, have been the backbone in reducing abortions.)

Abortion must be excluded from any health care reform bill or a massive taxpayer-funded increase in abortions will ensue.

* Note: in the RGJ the word "when" appears instead of "before."  We are not sure if this is the RGJ's error, or Nelson's when he sent it over.  Nevertheless, the meaning is "before."  The US taxpayer paid for 300,000 taxpayer funded abortions through Medicaid before the Hyde amendment explicitly excluded abortion.

Don Nelson is president of Nevada LIFE (Life Issues Forum and Education).


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