Myths about Abortion in Health Care Reform

We’ve got inside information: [last week] a media-relations executive from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, giving a talk here in Washington on Planned Parenthood’s health care reform strategy, made a comment that revealed the impact we’ve been making in thwarting the abortion industry’s agenda. She lamented that because the “anti-choice” movement — meaning pro-lifers like you and me — had attracted so much attention to her organization’s efforts to mandate abortion funding in health care reform, Planned Parenthood was being forced onto the defensive.

Bad news for abortion advocates is great news for champions of life! But Planned Parenthood has an extremely well-financed public-relations department. Planned Parenthood — enabled by the more than 350 million of your tax dollars each year — and its president, Cecile Richards, don’t stay on the defensive for long.

Perfect example: Planned Parenthood’s spin machine has issued a “Reality Check,” attacking what Richards says are “myths” spread by pro-lifers — and twisting the truth so much it made my head feel like it was in a spin machine. I showed it to our legal team, and they responded with some masterful mythbusting of their own. Here’s their take on the abortion industry’s three biggest myths about health care reform:

  • MYTH: Pro-life groups want to strip reproductive health from health care reform.

Reality: Pro-life groups want to protect women’s reproductive health. And we do not want to deny women insurance coverage. However AUL, along with the vast majority of Americans, believes that “Real health care respects life!” No matter what Planned Parenthood says, abortion does not equal reproductive health. And health coverage should not include the destruction of unborn children. Furthermore, no one should be forced to violate their conscience by performing, referring for, paying for, or providing coverage for abortion. And make no mistake, that’s what the bills under consideration would do.

  • MYTH: The health care reform bills before Congress will not change the “status quo” regarding insurance coverage of abortion.

Reality: An amendment added to H.R. 3200 permits the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include abortion in the public health insurance plan, and requires abortion coverage if the Hyde amendment is ever reversed. The current Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, is staunchly pro-abortion and would certainly include abortion, allowing for immediate federal funding of elective abortion coverage. The provision also requires that all areas of the country contain one private plan that covers abortion and permits taxpayer funding of private plans that cover elective abortion.

The Senate HELP bill delegates to a “Medical Advisory Committee” the role of deciding what benefits any private or public health care plan must offer. This Committee is expected to include abortion as a required minimum benefit. Further, based on court precedent, private plans would be forced by the government to include coverage of abortion — this is a drastic change from the status quo in which private plans may elect to cover abortion and individuals may choose whether or not to purchase health insurance that offers coverage of abortion. Ironically, “pro-choice” activists are trying to take consumer choice out of health care.

  • MYTH: The health care reform bills before Congress do not mandate abortion coverage.

Reality: Both H.R. 3200 and the Senate HELP bill mandate abortion in several ways:

1. an amendment to H.R. 3200 permits and may require abortion coverage in the public health insurance plan, and permits taxpayer funding of private plans that cover elective abortion;

2. prior court holdings which state that abortion is included within several of Medicaid’s mandatory categories of care (inpatient services, outpatient services, and preventative care) will certainly apply to any federal statute revising Medicaid and involving health care reform, and;

3. the rejection of several key pro-life amendments in the House and Senate Committees, where the inclusion would have ensured that abortion was not funded in the bills, demonstrates that the bills are intended to mandate abortion.

If you’re trying to sort out the myths from facts on health care reform, the best place to start is AUL Action’s . The site features in-depth analysis from our legal team, showing how the health care reform plans currently under consideration by Congress would mandate abortion coverage, strip providers of their rights of conscience, and threaten the ill and elderly with denial of care. Also, if you’re going to a town hall meeting this month, download our special town-hall flyer and distribute it to show your friends and neighbors to show that Real Health Care Respects Life .

Thank you for joining me in working to protect and defend life!

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