From the diaries by Erick
As you well know, Speaker Pelosi’s version of President Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul passed the House by a razor thin margin of 220-215 late Saturday night. Seldom have more Americans been more aware of a piece of legislation passing Congress, as news of this historical occasion filled newspapers, blogs, and email and twitter accounts from coast-to-coast over the weekend. Ironically, final passage was delivered largely by pro-life Democrats, who earlier in the evening got their wish on an up-or-down vote on an amendment that would prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for abortions or to pay part of the cost of any healthcare plan that covered abortions. The amendment passed easily, by a vote of 240-194.
This vote was the culmination of six straight months – and many would argue years or decades – of negotiations, maneuvers, and secret deals. Keep in mind, dear reader, that we are talking about a dream come true for most Democrats, and all liberal Democrats. The House of Representatives actually passed fundamental and even transformational reform of the American healthcare system. Never mind that H.R. 3962 creates at least 111 new federal boards, commissions, and bureaucracies, or that it raises taxes by $766 billion over 10 years, or represents a federal government takeover of 1/6th of the American economy – these are all considered good things by the Democrat leadership and most rank-and-file Democrat members. Even better news for liberals, House passage of this bill comes at a time when Democrats fully control the U.S. Senate and have a White House unalterably committed to the same goal. One would expect House Democrats and liberal sympathizers to be jubilant on their accomplishment. What could possibly stop them from signing healthcare reform into law in mere weeks?
A radical, foaming-at-the-mouth, hell-bent commitment on the part of the most liberal members in their party to the expansion of abortion and abortion funding at all costs – that’s what. In a letter penned the very next business day after passage, 41 Members within Pelosi’s Democrat House caucus have signed a letter pledging to oppose final passage of this healthcare overhaul if the ban on federal funding for abortion remains (not released yet - apparently awaiting more signatures).
The amendment that would bar federal funding to be used to pay for abortions – generally known as the Stupak-Pitts amendment – would not overturn Roe vs. Wade or prohibit abortions of any kind for any reason in private healthcare plans – present or future. Nor would it prohibit anyone that gets a federal healthcare plan from paying for an abortion on their own – a mere $375 these days. It would not even prevent state and local governments from paying for abortion or insurance covering abortion services with non-federal funds. It would only prohibit federal funding of abortions within plans provided by the federal government. Even if this provision was retained, Democrat members could – and certainly would – work tirelessly to remove the prohibition after the healthcare overhaul was signed into law and implemented.
So, Democrats are willing to sabotage their key legislative reform effort of the century because they are more committed to the expansion of abortion rights – and specifically federal funding of abortion – for Americans than they are to universal healthcare for Americans?
Yes, that’s correct – you’ve got it now.
The draft letter by the 41 Democrat House members states, in part:
As Members of Congress we believe that women should have access to a full range of reproductive health care. Health care reform must not be misused as an opportunity to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services.
There is no “restriction” of women’s “access to reproductive health services.” A quick review of the facts: these are women who either do not have health insurance or who the government has determined cannot afford to purchase their own health insurance. Consequently, the federal government will step in and provide health insurance for free or at a greatly reduced rate – something for nothing or almost nothing, complements of the American taxpayer and the ever-willing Chinese. The only caveat? They cannot use their government provided healthcare plan to get an abortion. They are still just as capable and free to obtain an abortion as the day before they received their free healthcare plan.
So the bottom line is this: Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, and Ms. Pelosi will develop a perhaps more subtle but very real way to include abortion services in the final healthcare overhaul bill. It won’t be overt, but it certainly will not include the clear and unambiguous language of the Stupak-Pitts amendment. It will have just enough vague terms and legislative jargon to provide a somewhat plausible cover for just enough pro-life Democrats to tell their constituents that they did not vote to provide taxpayer funds for abortion, in order for the final package to pass. Oh yes, certainly they will have voted for the $1.7 trillion worth of other government healthcare goodies, but not “healthcare” that would expressly pay for killing. Never.
It should be reason enough to oppose this monstrosity because it tramples upon the express wording and intent of the U.S. Constitution and the 10th Amendment (yes, the Constitution is still the law of the land, technically), and makes a mockery of the General Welfare clause. In sardonic irony, a bill which seeks to “reform” healthcare would fundamentally harm the delivery of healthcare services to all Americans.
A glimmer of hope remains still. While all those reasons above sadly cannot muster a congressional majority in opposition to the bill, the life principle just might spell death to government-run healthcare. Having been around Capitol Hill long enough be become a wee bit pessimistic about the odds of witnessing courage and principal on a mass scale, I nevertheless hold to the possibility that just enough elected leaders will consider the lives of the born and unborn they will be saving as they cast a Nay vote on federalized healthcare when it comes back around.