Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Abortion and the health care reform bill

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., introduced an amendment to the health care plan that seeks to prohibit public funds from paying for abortions.
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., introduced an amendment to the health care plan that seeks to prohibit public funds from paying for abortions.

Abortion has emerged as the latest hot button issue in an already contentious health care reform debate.

While some talk about trying to make the bill "abortion neutral," neutrality is often in the eye of the beholder.

We decided to wade into the debate to check out the facts surrounding a couple of the more popular claims being made about the plan's effect on abortion.

First, we checked a claim by Rep. John Boehner that the plan would require Americans to "subsidize abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars." While there are several versions of the health care plan floating around Congress, and it seems that full abortion coverage would be permitted in the government-sponsored program, we didn't see anything in them that would put taxpayers on the hook for subsidizing abortions. In fact, we found an amendment in a key version of the House plan that specifically seeks to ensure that federal funds are not used to subsidize abortion coverage. And so we ruled that claim False.

We also checked an abortion claim by the Liberty Counsel, a group that describes its mission as an "education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family" and is affiliated with Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Va. In a memo on its Web site, the group says that page 992 of the health care bill will "establish school-based 'health' clinics. Your children will be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!" There's nothing in the bill to that effect, so we gave them a  Pants on Fire.