This week, House committees are scheduled to begin consideration of the largest piece of health care legislation in decades. I have been critical of the health care reform proposals being offered by Democrats because of the so-called public option, which will crowd out private insurance providers and eventually lead to government-owned health care. Government-owned health care will place bureaucrats in Washington in charge of your health care options. This is wrong. Health care decisions must be made by you and your doctor.
However, there is another very serious concern with health care reform plans in Congress, especially the plan being offered in the House. It will lead to mandated coverage of abortion, forcing employers and insurance providers to cover abortion as a health care procedure and subsidizing abortions with the tax dollars of pro-life Americans who have grave moral objections.
Under the proposed legislation, virtually every individual will be required to have health care that meets the “minimum benefit standards” established by the administration. Without an explicit exclusion, abortion will be determined to be included in these benefit standards.
President Obama himself stated that “reproductive care is essential care, basic care.” And history has demonstrated that unless abortion is explicitly excluded, administrative agencies and the courts will mandate it.
We have seen this time and time again. The federal Medicaid statute was silent on abortion, but the administration and the courts deemed abortion-on-demand to be mandated coverage. Then in 1979, Congressman Henry Hyde asked the Indian Health Service where they found the authority to pay for abortions. They responded, “We would have no basis for refusing to pay for abortions.”
In both of these cases, explicit exclusions had to be added to ensure that taxpayers would not have to continue to pay for abortions. The issue here is clear — if abortion is not explicitly excluded, it is implicitly included. The stakes are high and the implications incredibly far-reaching.
This will affect Americans across the country throughout all walks of life. It will affect the insurance companies that are forced to cover abortion. It will affect the employers, who will be forced to purchase plans that cover abortion. It will affect the individuals, who are forced to pay for coverage of abortion.
In fact, any individual who does not have a plan that meets the minimum benefit standards, which will undoubtedly include abortion unless it is excluded, will be forced to pay a 2 percent penalty. Any employer who does not provide coverage that meets these standards will pay an 8 percent tax penalty.
There are many communities across America that do not have abortion services because they are unwanted. Abortion clinics would be forced onto these communities because of the mandate contained in the health care reform bill. And as the number of abortion clinics increase, so will the number of abortions.
The plan would run roughshod over state laws that limit abortion in various ways. Laws requiring parental consent, limiting late-term abortions, or prohibiting non-physicians from performing abortions would all be pre-empted. This represents a federal mandate from liberal politicians in Washington forcing their values onto the people of America — in the face of strong moral opposition from millions of Americans.
This legislation will mandate and subsidize abortion and then tax the Americans who stand for one of the very principles that this nation was founded on — the right to life. Americans who are morally opposed to abortion should not have to pay for abortions with their tax dollars against their will.
This legislation must contain explicit language to ensure that no American is forced to finance abortions and that employers and health care providers are not forced to provide coverage for abortion against their moral objections. The pro-life majority of Americans will not stand for a health care reform plan that promotes abortion over life and forces Washington politicians’ liberal values onto communities across the country.