Friday, August 28, 2009

On Abortion, Which Side Is Fabricating?

Sorry to bring up the Curmudgeon again, but a couple of days ago he posted ObamaCare/AbortionCare, implying that health reform will pave the road for the use of federal funds to support abortion. To support his opinion, the Curmudgeon selected three quotes: one from TIME magazine, one from the Associated Press, and another one by the non-partisan (which I have quoted myself in the past). The idea, I guess, is to show that "unbiased" observers agree with the Curmudgeon's premise. Since comments are not allowed for that post, I will point out a few important distinctions here.

First, the fact that all unbiased observers agree with TIME's Michael Scherer's opinion that "[t]he health-care reform proposed by House Democrats, if enacted, would in fact mark a significant change in the federal government's role in the financing of abortions" is not beyond question.

Take for example this post, Does Health Care Cover Abortion or Not? Fact Checking the Fact Checkers, published on and on the Wall Street Journal Online. In it, Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief of BeliefNet, says that is is clear that "things have gotten confusing when even the independent 'fact checking' organizations can't agree with each other," citing different interpretations of the facts given by and by

After a long analysis and quoting the Capps Amendment, which is devised to prohibit the use of public funds for abortions not already allowed under the Hyde Amendment, Waldman reaches the conclusion that "when pro-life forces claim that, as a result of the 'affordability credits,' taxpayers are paying for abortion, they're being hyperbolic at best, deceptive at worst." He is religious, I am not (though I am not a defender of unlimited abortions), so I thought that his word would weigh more than mine on the subject.

Or take, for another example, Catholics United, an organization that supports health care reform on the grounds that the above-mentioned Capps Amendment states that "no tax dollars will be used to pay for abortion services. This should be acceptable to pro-life Americans who want find consensus on abortion funding in health care reform - so that we are able to provide coverage to the tens of millions who currently lack it." (Emphasis added. This quote is an excerpt from an email thread started by Steven Waldman, with Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council, which opposes H.R. 3200 for its alleged pro-abortion bias, and Chris Korzen of Catholics United. You can read the whole thread here.)

Incidentally, Korzen issued a strong condemnation of the Family Research Council's campaign of misinformation about H.R. 3200, saying that "were groups like the Family Research Council and the Catholic League serious about abortion common ground, they would champion the Capps Amendment's positive points instead of issuing categorical condemnations of its intent." Korzen also points to the fact that special interests opposed to reform "twisted a proposal allowing Medicare to reimburse doctors for purely optional end of life care counseling (discussions about options like hospice and palliative care) into promotion of euthanasia" and further condemns the FRC for producing an ad running nationwide that makes "the false and inflammatory claim that seniors will have to sacrifice needed care so that the government can pay for abortions." So, you see, there are reasonable people among believers who disagree with the broad brush statements that the Curmudgeon likes to post even without allowing others the privilege to reply.

In my humble opinion, while it is understandable and even laudable to try and make one's voice heard in order to shape health care reform in the direction one prefers, it is just absurd to accuse Congress and the Obama administration of pushing the abortion agenda using as an example a bill that is still taking form in the House and in the Senate, is not finalized, and that is months away from coming to a vote on the floor.

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