years ago, when passage or defeat of the Affordable Care Act appeared
to rest in the hands of a small group of prolife House Democrats,
President Obama won their support for the health care plan with an
executive order promising elective abortion wouldn’t be part of the
program. Skeptics said the order wouldn’t do the trick.
right. The question now isn't whether the Obamacare will include
abortion but how much abortion, for whom, and at whose expense.
Michigan representative Bart Stupak, who'd led the little band of House
Democrats in negotiations with the White House, two years ago declared
himself to be "perplexed and disappointed" at the violation of the
executive orderand also, he added, of "statutory law"then already
beginning to take place.
Stupak, who’d chosen not to seek office
in 2010, was speaking in particular of the HHS Mandatethe Health and
Human Services Department's rule for the implementation of Obamacare
that would compel even some church-related institutions to cooperate in
providing abortifacient drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to
employees via their health plans.
Not surprisingly, the mandate
has evoked heated protests from religious leaders, the Catholic bishops
among them, as well as from some proprietors of commercial enterprises
opposed to abortion on conscience grounds. The argument is that coercing
conscience in this manner violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of
The Supreme Court in March will hear two cases
brought against the mandate by private businesses, with the Justice
Department arguing the pro-abortion side. Also certain to be before the
court soon is a case or cases involving religious groups. As this is
written, it could be the much publicized case involving the Little
Sisters of the Poor or it could be some other.
By no means, though, is the HHS Mandate Obamacare’s only tip of the hat to elective abortion.
has shown that in some places it can be difficult to impossible just to
find out whether plans offered on the new federal and state exchanges
cover the abortion procedure. That’s been the problem in New York and
Minnesota, to mention just two.
In some states, too, all plans
cover elective abortion, even though federal law requires that at least
one plan be available that doesn't contain this coverage. Rhode Island
and Connecticut are instances.
If someone ends up buying insurance
that covers elective abortion, without knowing it or wanting it, he or
she unwittingly is helping to pay for someone else's abortion.
Legislation to remedy this problem has been introduced in both the
Senate and the House but it thought to have little chance of passage.
not all. The federal and state governments are contracting with
community groups to encourage people to use the exchanges and show them
how. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is one
such group, with grants in the hundreds of thousands of dollars going to
affiliates in Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, California, Montana, and
the District of Columbia.
Addressing a Planned Parenthood
conference last April, President Obama spoke with pride about the fact
that the abortion movement's celebrated right to choose abortion was a
part of Obamacare. People whose memories go back just a few years will
recall a time when some Catholic apologists for Obama insisted that,
even though he was pro-choice himself, he could be counted on to respect
the consciences of others who disagreed. How wrong can you be?