Abortion issue hard to avoid in healthcare debate

November 9, 2009

Like it or not, the healthcare debate has turned into a fracas over abortion rights.

pelosifingerU.S. House Democratic leaders had hoped to avoid just that in their push to expand healthcare coverage and reform the health insurance market.

But getting the votes to pass the historic legislation on Saturday boiled down to settling a dispute between pro-choice and pro-life forces over abortion.

Abortion foes won. The House passed an amendment restricting the availability of insurance policies that include elective abortion services even though many medical plans currently offer such coverage.

The debate over abortion highlights broader questions surrounding the government’s reach in healthcare.  Once the government starts subsidizing insurance premiums, it will dictate what can and cannot be included in that coverage.

Democrat Congressman Louis Capps underscored that in arguing the amendment “will mean more women will have their reproductive health choices made by politicians and anti-choice zealots in Washington, DC, instead of by themselves and their doctors.”

With abortion-rights supporters vowing to strip the amendment out of the bill as it moves through the legislative process, the debate now shifts over to the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders are struggling to build enough support for the healthcare overhaul to overcome procedural hurdles that stand in the way of major legislation.

The biggest point of contention has been whether the government should offer a new health plan option.  But the abortion debate will likely prove impossible to avoid.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, acknowledged the issue will come up when the Senate takes up healthcare reform possibly as early as next week.

“It is an issue that we are going to have to deal with over here,” he said. “Senator Reid will need to talk to his caucus about how to proceed.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas ( U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following House vote on healthcare reform legislation)


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If a woman has a medical necessity she can get one right? And if not she can always elect to pay for one right? So what’s the debate? Don’t let this issue become front and center and stall the healthcare debate. Give the right this concession. There will be plenty of time to fix it later.

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive

If live is so “precious”, as these Right to Lifers’ claim it is, why does God allow 35,000 child under the age of five to die, everyday, (worldwide) from a lack of clean water. If He cared, He would do something about that. Wouldn’t he? I guess not. So, if the Right to Lifers have a problem with the way health care reform is progressing, tell them to talk to God about it. And, good luck.

Posted by AlteredStates | Report as abusive

One thing people tend to forget when arguing about abortion funding..abortion is legal. It’s not like we’re asking the government to fund an illegal war, or to fund foreign countries that wage illegal wars and occupations, or to fund foreign drug lords. Abortion is legal and, as far as I know, we still have a constitutional separation of church and state. If the Catholic Church–or any other church–wants to lobby Congress and influence abortion legislation, let them pay taxes for that privilege.

Posted by janet | Report as abusive

Janet — Actually, there is no “constitutional separation of church and state”. That phrase comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson but it’s not in the Constitution. And in the context of Jefferson’s letter, the meaning was to keep the state from influencing the church. Never has the church been expected not to influence the state.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

This shows what a real fiasco bill Demos have creared. Trying to legislate morals again. Is this a healthcare bill or what! Religion has no relevance in health care, we don’t need to further encroach on peoples rights! Demos are trying to take over our rights and legislate them to 111 gov’t agencies that will spend us penniless. Is a gov’t too big to fail too???

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one, it’s that simple. Abortion is legal and one could argue (and some have) that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.
This issue and others like gay marriage are prime examples of religious groups trying to impose their view on others.
It is not up to one person or group to enforce the what is written in the Bible, if you are true believer then you know that is up to God and doing so in God’s name is a sin.
Luke 6, 37 “Judge not and ye shall not be judged, condemn not and ye shall not be condemned, forgive and ye shall be forgiven.”
So let’s have a little less judging and condemning, more forgiving and let God sweat the details shall we.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Eric. I guess God spoke to Maine when the voters did not approve gay marriage….

As for abortion, as long as a person is willing to pay for it themselves, then fine, have an abortion. Just don’t do it with my money.

If I understand you correctly, leave the government out of it. Can’t have it both ways.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

The Devil, Satan, the great deciever comes to steal, kill, and destroy, We live in a fallen world where sin and corruption blocks Gods Blessings. This country has enjoyed Gods blessings but I’m afraid we are pushing back his hand by allowing our moral compass to be directed by godless men and their desire to take the sovernity of being endowed by our Creator and give it to some socialist manafesto. Call me crazy but I do fear and pray for America.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

I do not want the fruits of my labor being used for the termination of children. Especially when the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply unwanted pregnancies. Of course I hope this health care takeover does not see the light of day but instead people realize the years of corrupt legislation that has led us to believe this is the only solution. I do not want to give total control to the same corrupt entity that has allowed us to get to where we are and have protected the greed of corporate profits.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Will thanks for the permission, you are crazy.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

If the Catholic Church–or any other church–wants to lobby Congress and influence abortion legislation, let them pay taxes for that privilege.
Posted by Janet.

Janet wins the thread.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Fear and lies TC, fear and lies is what repealed the gay marriage law in Maine. A familiar tactic from the right wing. All the gay community was looking for were the rights afforded straight married couples, which a gay couple do not currently have.
I thought you conservatriods were all about personal rights and responsibility, when will you stand up for EVERYBODY’S rights and not discriminate?
No I’m not saying leave the government out of TC, sometimes we need them to protect us from the likes of you. What I’m saying is it’s up to you, me or anyone else to decide who is right or wrong in the eyes of God. That is the central argument of the religious right, they want to interrupt and enforce the “word of God” as they see it. I happen to disagree with them.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Numerous mistakes in that last post, long day and tiered of arguing with TC.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

eric h,Where is the wise man?Where is the scholar?Where is the philosopher of this age?Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?1 Corinthians 1:20.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Eric. The problem with you diatribe against the right/conservatives is that even Obama believes in a marriage between a man and woman. That’s one thing I actually agree with him on.

Actually Eric, you have no idea how much I actually protect your right to say what you want. Don’t even presume to know anything about me and being protected from me. That made me chuckle because you have no idea who you are talking to…no idea…I will just leave it at that. Just say thank you…

Blame the power of the voters on what you want to. The same can be said about the Obama being elected president. He based his whole campaign on fear….And now the American people realize they were duped by this unqualified individual. He can talk a good talk, but he is only a community organizer (I am not disparaging those who choose to community organize). My point is that he is not qualified and the Americans who put him there now know the disaster they elected.

You certainly are a blamer. The vast majority of Americans believe in marriage between a man and a woman. The vast minority are lost, like you.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

After looking into present abortion procedures I realized that to be prochoice
means being pro-torture-the-baby-to-death.
These operations are one horrible atrocity after another. Difficult to believe they are done by the millions in a so-called civilized society and a supposedly compassionate medical profession.
According to most experts, the developing baby can feel pain early in
gestation This can be seen in the video “The Silent Scream” produced by
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist. (Google Videos). At 12 weeks, it shows the baby struggling and trying to scream
as he/she is torn to pieces by the powerful suction tube. The abortionist who
performed it, quit after seeing what he had done.
In surgical abortions, the mother usually gets mild sedation and either local anesthesia into the cervix or regional anesthesia in the spinal nerves. The baby gets none. Nor does the baby mercifully get presugical euthanasia in mostcases
In D&E and D&X, performed in later term, there is usually no
pain prevention for the baby. In D&E, the baby is cut or torn to pieces and the skull crushed to ease extraction. In D&X, the legs and body are delivered and scissors thrust into the skull to destroy the brain, the skull is suctioned
out and collapsed to pass easily.
Less used today in the US, saline abortion is the most excruciating of all.
The amnionic fluid that surrounds the baby is sucked out and replaced by
concentrated salt solution which corrodes away the skin and intestinal lining,
causing a slow and painful death, one hour to many hours; sometimes delivered alive. Called ” Candy Apple Babies” by the nurses due to the abscence of skin.
We need laws to stop these inhuman practices. We have laws controlling
humane slaughter of animals. We need humane slaughter laws for our smallest humans.

Posted by :M G Carbone | Report as abusive

M G Carbone thank you for your posting ,but politics prevails and liberals just don,t want to know,the less they know the less they will have to deal with it.But behind the scenes you have companies that abortions are their product and they offer bonuses for productivity.This is a billion dollar industry,and they have many connections in DC.One fight that abortionists will have in the future which will bring them crashing down is to try and impose on the present choice of doctors and nurses to refuse to perform abortions.These liberals have a mindset that if they can coerce people to behave like them it gives them justification!but there will be a revolt in the medical profession.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Thank you for reminding us of the horrors of abortion. It is sickening we are allowed to do this to human beings.

People think someone can just make an appointment for a simple procedure to end the life of another. Well, there is nothing simple about abortion.

What a shameful tragedy the greatest country in the world allows this to happen.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Unfortunately this is just an extension of the status quo. The Stupak amendment is very similar to the Hyde Amendment which stated after Roe v Wade that federal funds could not be used for abortions under Medicaid. I wish it was a win for life but it is just not a loss if that makes sense. A minimum requirement in my opinion.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive


USA is definitely NOT the greatest country in the world by any standard except perhaps the one with the most unchecked greedy capitalism running everything, including the economy.

Human beings? Really?

I think it’s a matter of opinion. Personally I see a POTENTIAL human being, not something that absolutely WILL become a human being.

While I do not support inhumane or cruel practices to end life, think for millisecond WHY people get abortions.

Because: a) they don’t want a child or
b)they cannot afford to feed and clothe one or

These children are UNWANTED, they are likely to grow up with little love if their mother/father tried to get rid of them somehow.

Not having abortions makes people’s lives miserable, both the parent’s and the child’s.

And who are the people who most want abortions? Statistically, teenage mothers. You think they can afford one? Most do not even tell their parents! If we want to reduce the number of unwanted children, you need to give these girls an affordable option.

And if you STILL think abortion is a monstrosity, then do your best to get the government to promote sexual education and high schools to have free condoms available.

Posted by eatsyourface | Report as abusive