By Rita Diller
The government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy via the socialistic health care plan passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama delivered a grand slam for Planned Parenthood.
Aided by some high-profile Catholic and other Christian members of Congress who betrayed their constituents, an 11th-hour compromise between Representative Bart Stupak and President Obama opened the door on Sunday for the passage of the most lucrative abortion legislation since the enactment of Roe v. Wade.
Litany of mockery
One U.S. representative after another took the floor last Sunday to speak of such things as having a moral obligation to vote for this bill and to claim that it does not contain abortion funding. At several points, reference was made to the fact that Catholic nuns were supporting it, even though it was a renegade group of nuns who posited their support, while the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious opposed the bill.
Rep. Dale Kildee from Michigan, who studied six years at a Catholic seminary, urged others to vote for the bill with this plea: “I will be 81 years old this September. Certainly at this stage of my life I am not going to change my mind and support abortion. I am not going to jeopardize my eternal salvation. I’ve sought counsel from my priest, advice from my family, friends and constituents. And I have read the Senate abortion prohibition more than a dozen times. I am convinced that the original prohibition of the Hyde Amendment is in the Senate bill,” he said.
Kildee’s statement was the icing on the heretical cake. Shortly thereafter, Obama fired off his proposed executive order to provide cover for the defection of Stupak and six other Democrats who had portrayed themselves as pro-life and opposed to the bill. Their defection secured the votes needed to pass this abortion-drenched bill that will channel untold millions to Planned Parenthood.
Smoke screens and empty promises
The bill is rife with disguised provisions that will result in abortion mandates and federal abortion funding. The abortion limits that are in the bill are nothing more than a smokescreen—an empty attempt to trick and pacify pro-life advocates in order to gain passage.
And now we have the empty promise of the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history, who says he will ensure that abortion will not be funded in the health care bill, thanks to an executive order. If Obama and the Democrat majority had been willing to limit abortion funding, they would have done so within the bill, where it would have had some meaning. Obama’s executive order is not worth the paper it is written on, since an executive order does not trump the law.
Obama’s promise to PP
From the outset of his presidential campaign, Obama promised that reproductive health would be the centerpiece of his health care plan. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton subsequently made it very clear that reproductive health care includes abortion.
Immediately after addressing the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in July 2007, Obama took questions from the audience, with Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Cecile Richards at his right hand. The first question was from Brian Howard, CEO of PP of Arizona.
Howard: You know that rights and access, and rights and ability have to go hand in hand, and we know that health care reform is an important part of your agenda. Could you talk—give us some specifics about how reproductive health care and women’s health care is going to fit into and be a part of primary care for women in your health care reform plans, and how Planned Parenthood, as a safety net provider, will continue to be a part of the health care safety net for women and families across the country?”
Obama: Well, look, in my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care. And so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose. … Essentially what we are doing is to say that we are going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services … We also will subsidize those who prefer to stay in the private insurance market, except the insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing reproductive care.
How much abortion funding?
Perhaps the largest pot of gold awaiting Planned Parenthood under Obamacare is the $7 billion that has been earmarked for the Community Health Centers program for primary health care, which specifically includes gynecological and obstetrics care. This money appears in the bill without restrictions on the use of the money for abortion. It is not restricted by the Hyde Amendment, since the Hyde Amendment applies only to funds flowing through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill.
The bill also contains $5 billion for a temporary high-risk health insurance pool program, and $6 billion in grants and loans for health co-ops. These are directly appropriated funds with no abortion limitations.
The bill contains a provision under which private plans that cover elective abortion would qualify for a federal subsidy. Every enrollee would be required to pay an abortion surcharge, which would be used to pay for other people’s abortions. And, of course, abortion coverage could be mandated if the Secretary of HHS simply places abortion on the list of “preventive” care services. In fact, the bill grants tremendous power to the Secretary of HHS and other federal entities to determine what will be covered under the health care program. The Mikulski Amendment does not preclude abortion from being listed as a “preventive” service, in which case, coverage would be mandated. Mikulski refused to revise the amendment to exclude abortion.
In addition, pro-abortion legislators blocked the inclusion of language that would prevent penalties for health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions. The so-called conscience protections that do exist in the bill are extremely narrow.
PP is pleased
If you still have any doubt that PP stands to realize huge financial gains from Obamacare, read what Cecile Richards has to say about it:
Today is a truly historic day for the American people who have long demanded affordable, quality health care coverage.
For more than a year, Planned Parenthood has worked tirelessly for a health care reform bill that would fix our broken health care system, strengthen women’s health, and achieve quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Today, monumental progress was made toward achieving these goals with the passage of historic health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, despite a symbolic gesture, in the form of an Executive Order (emphasis added), to anti-choice Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI), which has diverted attention from the central goal of health care reform—controlling costs and extending coverage.
As a trusted health care provider to millions of women and families across the country, Planned Parenthood applauds the fact that this legislation would extend health care coverage, including family planning, to tens of millions of women and families, guarantee access to affordable life-saving screenings for cervical and breast cancer and other serious health problems, protect women against gender discrimination by private insurers, end the practice of dropping coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and significantly increase access to reproductive health care. The proposal also includes a commonsense provision to expand family planning under Medicaid (emphasis added), which would significantly increase access to essential preventive health care for millions of women.
As a result of this historic expansion of health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans, the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who work for Planned Parenthood health centers will be providing care to many more women, men, and families who will be seeking primary and preventive care (emphasis added).
Planned Parenthood is also extremely pleased that members of the House listened to the millions of women and men who expressed their strong opposition to the Stupak abortion ban. Stopping the Stupak ban was a high priority for women across the country who rejected the notion that they would not be able to even use their own money to obtain private insurance coverage for abortion. It was a tough fight, but we salute Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D- CA), Congressman Rosa DeLauro (D–CT), members of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, and all others who stood up for women’s health and women’s rights.
Nonetheless, we regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, it is critically important to note that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban. (emphasis added)
This is a historic day for American people. We regret that a gesture to Congressman Stupak has diverted the nation’s focus from this bill’s accomplishments, including the extension of family planning to millions of women.
On Monday, March 22, American Life League issued a statement decrying the passage of the legislation on Monday, pointing out the folly and immorality of attempting to compromise some human beings’ lives in the hopes of saving others, and renewing the call for the pro-life movement to recognize the personhood of all human beings.
Rita Diller is the national director of Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP), an American Life League project.