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Abortion and health-care reform: the truth, please

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 10, 2009

In his Wednesday-night address to Congress, President Obama flatly denied that his preferred health-care reform proposal would provide government funding for abortions. Here are his words:

One more misunderstanding I want to clear up - under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

Yet pro-life activists continue to insist that the plan would use tax dollars to pay for abortions. How can we resolve this contradiction?

1. Since Roe v. Wade, abortion has been a legal medical procedure in all 50 American states. 

EITHER

a. Under the Obama plan, if a woman in a government-subsidized health plan seeks this legal procedure, she will be denied coverage.

OR

b. President Obama told Congress a lie.

2. The head of the US bishops' pro-life committee has said that the Obama proposal is "unacceptable" because of its abortion funding. 

EITHER

a. The US bishops' conference, which has issued repeated statements endorsing the call for health-care reform, actually wants to scuttle the plan for reform.

OR
b. President Obama told Congress a lie.

3. Early in his presidency, Obama directed the Department of Health and Human Services to remove the "conscience clause" protection for health-care workers who oppose abortion and rescinded the "Mexico City policy" that had prevented taxpayer subsidies for abortion advocacy.

EITHER

a. The President has undergone a change of heart that he never disclosed, and now backs "conscience clause" protection.

OR

b. President Obama told Congress a lie.

4. NARAL Pro-Choice America is giving enthusiastic coverage to the drive for passage of the Obama plan. 

EITHER

a. NARAL Pro-Choice America will be happy with a plan that does not provide abortion coverage

OR

b. President Obama told Congress a lie.
 

5. The Washington Post concedes that in order to justify his claim that the plan does not cover abortion, the President is forced to use accounting tricks that pro-lifers will recognize as "little more than a shell game."

EITHER

a. The Post-- which endorsed Obama's candidacy in 2008, and endorses his health-care reform proposal now-- secretly opposes the legislation and wants to kill it.

OR

b. President Obama told Congress a lie.

Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee has provided a full explanation of the tortured logic that the President and his allies have used to justify their claim in a National Review piece.

 Keep in mind that the discussion above covers only the issue of abortion. Catholics should also be asking whether the Obama proposal offers coverage for contraception, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, and sex-change surgery-- and demanding more forthright answers than the ones the President offered in his address to Congress.
 

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