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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reduce Abortions: Pass Health Reform Now

Neither the House nor the Senate versions of health insurance reform pay for abortions with tax dollars. Arguments to the contrary are flat lies. Pro-life pastors and theologians know this.

But if we want to reduce abortions, we should pay for them. And for health care. For everyone:

Increasing health-care coverage is one of the most powerful tools for reducing the number of abortions -- a fact proved by years of experience in other industrialized nations. All the other advanced, free-market democracies provide health-care coverage for everybody. And all of them have lower rates of abortion than does the United States.

...The latest United Nations comparative statistics, available at http://data.un.org, demonstrate the point clearly. The U.N. data measure the number of abortions for women ages 15 to 44. They show that Canada, for example, has 15.2 abortions per 1,000 women; Denmark, 14.3; Germany, 7.8; Japan, 12.3; Britain, 17.0; and the United States, 20.8. When it comes to abortion rates in the developed world, we're No. 1 [T. R. Reid, "Universal Health Care Tends to Cut the Abortion Rate," Washington Post, 2010.03.14].

The U.N. must just be lying. How could universal health care have any connection with reducing abortions? Let's get English Cardinal Basil Hume to straighten us out:

In Britain, only 8 percent of the population is Catholic (compared with 25 percent in the United States). Abortion there is legal. Abortion is free. And yet British women have fewer abortions than Americans do. I asked Cardinal Hume why that is.

The cardinal said that there were several reasons but that one important explanation was Britain's universal health-care system. "If that frightened, unemployed 19-year-old knows that she and her child will have access to medical care whenever it's needed," Hume explained, "she's more likely to carry the baby to term. Isn't it obvious?" [Reid, 2010]

Yes, it is obvious. Cut the bull and abortions: tell Johnson, Thune, and Herseth Sandlin to pass health reform now.


  1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but...


    “The initial analysis of the new health care plan President Barack Obama released finds it does nothing to stop the massive abortion funding under the Senate health care bill…In the manager's amendment Senate Leader Harry Reid added to the Senate health care bill, HR 3590, a little noticed provision allowed $7 billion in funding for Community Health Centers buried deep in Section 10503 of the 383-page amendment…If all of the President's changes were made, the resulting legislation would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers, would institute federal subsidies for private health plans that cover abortion on demand (including some federally administered plans), and would authorize federal mandates that would require even non-subsidized private plans to cover elective abortion…Obama plan proposes increasing the $7 billion for community health centers to $11 billion without any restriction on the use of these federal funds to pay directly for abortions. Two pro-abortion groups, the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Abortion Access Project, are already actively campaigning for Community Health Centers to perform elective abortions. In short, the Senate bill would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers… NRLC points out that the there is already an organized effort underway by the Reproductive Health Access Project to encourage Community Health Centers to perform abortions, ‘as an integrated part of primary health care.’


    “The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date. he Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program. And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.”

    Linda M

  2. Corey

    The reality is that abortion happens in America almost entirely for the reason of convenience - to avoid 9 months of pregnancy. Currently there are programs to provide for the pregnant mother and for adoption - these gather dust. Abortion in America is a money making enterprise for those that provide it (which is about the only industry group of capitalists you have never railed on??). The statistics show that inconvenience is the reason we have 800 abortions and only a handful of adoptions each year in our state (excluding stepparent and foreign born adoptions - true placement of children by single moms). The one anecdote you reference aside, the facts don't lie (as a debate judge you would well note that your evidence is weak - if existent at all). Go to the Dept of Health web site if you wonder about why abortions are preformed in SD. So stop with the false irony – because if you really care about being prolife I can hook you up with some real opportunities to help real troubled teens there are programs out there that are trying. The federal government health care bill is not one of them.
    -- Lee Schoenbeck

  3. You forget, Linda, I've got bubbles of steel: the article I link at the top debunks exactly the specious attack you and the right-wingers construct around Community Health Centers. President G.W. Bush pushed a massive expansion of those Community Health Centers. I didn't hear the right-wing attacking those clinics as abortion mills under Bush. Plus, the Politics Daily article makes clear why those CHCs will not be abortion mills and why Planned Parenthood clinics will not turn themselves into CHCs t qualify for funding under this bill.

    Sorry, Lee: I should have clarified that I'm talking about constitutional ways to reduce abortion while respecting women's rights. Inconvenience, driving clinics out of business, and passing legal barriers might reduce the number of official, documented abortions. But those approaches create other harms.

    And wait a minute, Lee: How do you get to dismiss the experience of the rest of the industrialized world, with stats from Canada, U.K., Germany, et al., as "one anecdote"?

  4. Cory -
    Too much time in the debate lab buddy.

    First, your "source" is one of those pro-abortion groups. They have all the buzz words on their site - like wanting to make sure "every child is wanted", which has to be the cruelest of pro-abortion slogans. They are one of the types of groups making money in this industry that I noted you never take after.

    Second, you used one of those little debate tricks of defining your way out of having to confront an issue. This is kids Corey, not debate games - albeit - this venue is a theoretical discussion of how to try and save those kids we loose to abortion.

    Finally, at most importantly, and at the risk of sounding like a debate nerd, your sole anecdote that connects your thesis (that national health care prevents abortions), is the one individual from England's comments ---- and we know empirically (that's a science and math type thing) that abortions happen in over 90% of the cases for convenience - not because of post-birth environmental concerns.

    Bottom line, Cory, you used a snarky headline to poke at pro-life folks for your political agenda - -and you are wrong - this time.
    ---- Lee Schoenbeck

    PS Sorry about misspelling your name - have it right now.

  5. Lee, are you and I clicking the same link? My main source here is T.R. Reid, journalist. He uses data from the U.N. (pro-abortion? really? is anyone?) and quotes Cardinal Hume.

    This is no game and no snark. If "pro-life" means wanting fewer abortions, the experience of other industrialized countries shows that expanding access to health care, including abortion services, lowers the abortion rate.

    The argument about "convenience" actually fits with the point Cardinal Hume considers so obvious: making health care affordable, guaranteeing access through a national health insurance program, reduces the inconvenience of having a baby. That's why health insurance reform would reduce abortions.

    I'm not simply poking at "pro-life" folks. This is not splashy-headline snark. I'm making the very sincere point that the vast coinciding subset of people who identify themselves politically as pro-life and those who oppose current health insurance reform (or bigger plans like single-payer) are contradicting themselves. The "pro-life" pastors and theologians I link to recognize that.

    Everyone shouting "We love babies! More babies!" should be all about the public option or single-payer.


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