Abortion Rights and Health Care Bill
Now that the Senate and the House have each approved a health care bill, we can expect the debate to continue into 2010 as they try to merge the language and fight for their different language and approaches to providing coverage and paying for it. "The Republicans vow to make the process as difficult as possible in hopes of stopping the legislation", according to the Washington Post. Nothing will be more contentious than abortion.
The current Senate bill allows any state to bar the use of federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. Only dollars from private premiums would be used to pay for abortions. This requires the States to divide subsidy money into separate accounts.
Since there is already a 30 year-old-rule that prohibits the use of federal money for elective abortions, I do not see why new language is needed that will hold up the process. Abortion opponents want new health care legislation to prevent women from buying plans that cover abortion, no matter which dollars the insurer uses to pay for it. In effect, it would make abortion an uninsured cost to all women.
A poll done by the Pew Research Center showed only 3% of respondents who opposed health care overhaul cited abortion as a reason. So why is the abortion issue threatening to side tract the broader debate about health care?