Pro-Life Catholics For Health Insurance Reform

Commonweal speaks for many not represented by the hierarchy, and notes that the current pro-life position is based on an untruth:

One needs a good reason to oppose a bill that would cover 30 million uninsured Americans and greatly improve insurance for those who already have it. If the Senate bill did clearly authorize the federal government to pay for elective abortions, prolife Americans might have such a reason. To conclude the bill does this, however, requires one to believe that every ambiguityevery possible complication the bill doesn’t explicitly addressis a ploy by prochoice politicians to sneak abortion funding into the system. President Barack Obama and his party’s leadership have promised the bill won’t be used in this way. Their critics instruct us to presume that they’re lying.

These critics point out that the bill departs from the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal support for any health plan that covers elective abortion. They insist this is the only conceivable way for the government to subsidize insurance without paying for abortion. This is false, as the Senate bill itself clearly demonstrates. Under the bill, anyone who buys a plan that covers elective abortion would have to pay a separate, unsubsidized premium for that coverage. Such premiums would be segregated from premiums for all other services in a special account, which would have to cover the full cost of elective abortions and couldn’t receive a penny from the government. In other words, the bill would preserve the Hyde Amendment’s principle without applying its method.