[English; Afrikaans; français]
Article by Marc Aupiais
As the Stupak Amended US healthcare package goes to America's highest house of parliament, the US Bishops' Conference is fighting to keep the gains they have made, via an amended package, which allegedly does not increase or decrease abortion funding, while allegedly still allowing state funding of abortion in the case of incest, rape, or "danger" to a child's mother, and allowing for some cases of possible euthanasia. The Stupak amendment: pushed by about 40 "pro-life" Democrats: with the USCCB's support, they claim, keeps the status quo. The article then challenges pro-abortion, Democratic Party, US President Obama, over his stance on the package:
The American Life League, Creative Minority Report, and others, claim that while de jure, the principle may not have changed, de facto, Stupak will still allow for an increase in abortion funding.
The following will be a direct quotation of part of an article by the media blog of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):
"In the midst of this hysteria, National Public Radio (NPR) has done a fair job of breaking down the language of the Stupak Amendment. The quote from Rep. Stupak in the story underscores an essential point about the Stupak Amendment, that it's merely an application of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion and has been attached to appropriations bills since 1976. One question the NPR summary doesn't answer is whether or not the Hyde Amendment also forbids funding entire benefits packages that include abortion. The answer is yes.
In this case, the provisions of the Stupak Amendment are very much in continuity with federal law as it stands now and has stood for decades. It isn't some case of overreaching on the part of pro-lifers, as its opponents are now depicting it.
One voice that has joined the fray of speaking against the Stupak Amendment in the House bill is President Obama himself. The President, as is his style, took a cooler approach, as quoted here from the Washington Post:
"I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill," Obama said. "And we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions. And I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test -- that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we're not restricting women's insurance choices, because one of the pledges I made in that same speech was to say that if you're happy and satisfied with the insurance that you have, that it's not going to change." He added: "There are strong feelings on both sides, and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we're not changing the status quo."
ABC News also quotes the President as saying he's confident the final legislation will ensure that "neither side feels that it's being betrayed."
It's striking that this language is President Obama's argument against the Stupak Amendment. He reiterates here what you could call his pledge from his September 9 address to Congress on health care, that federal funds would not go to abortions, a pledge that the U.S. bishops held Congress to over the course of the health care bill's passage.
A major portion of the struggle over the legislation was that the Capps Amendment, the earlier abortion amendment in the House bill, was essentially what President Obama describes above, a "way of sneaking in funding for abortions." The Stupak Amendment rectifies this.
The President also cites his pledge that "if you're happy and satisfied with the insurance that you have, that it's not going to change." As the NPR breakdown explains, the Stupak Amendment "does not apply to private insurance bought with private money." So anyone who currently has a private plan with abortion coverage is going to be able to keep her plan with abortion coverage under the House bill and Stupak.
It seems President Obama simply doesn't appreciate how well the Stupak Amendment meets the goals he's put in place for this legislation."
(USCCB (American; Belongs to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops; Catholic) 10 / 11 | November / 2009 )