Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Parsing abortion in the health care bills

Protestors express opposite views on abortion.
Protestors express opposite views on abortion.

Abortion has been a long-simmering controversy in the battle over health care reform.

Opponents of abortion want to make sure the federal government does nothing to increase the number of abortions even as it expands insurance access to millions. Advocates for abortion rights, on the other hand, want women to have coverage that includes abortion services.

Congress, trying to bridge this yawning divide, has created plans that are complicated to explain and easy to distort.

We've covered the many claims from the left and the right about how abortion would be treated under health care reform, and you can read all of them on our subject page for abortion.

• We checked a statement from Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., who is opposed to abortion and concerned that the Senate bill -- the prevailing version of the bill as of this writing -- isn't strict enough in limiting the procedure. The Senate version of the health care refrom bill "allows taxpayer money to pay directly for abortion in federal community health centers funded in the bill," he said.

We looked into his statement and found that wasn't quite the case. We rated his statement Barely True.

• We also looked into a claim by Rep. Bark Stupak, an anti-abortion Democrat from Michigan, that under the Senate plan, every enrollee in the health care exchange would have to pay at least a dollar toward a fund for abortions. It's designed to separate federal subsidies from paying for abortions. But Stupak's wrong that every enrollee would have to pay into that abortion fund. That only applies to people who choose a plan that covers abortions. The Senate plan would require that at least one plan not offer abortion. We ruled Stupak's claim False.