Monday, August 24, 2009

Setting the Record Straight: Health Care Reform and the Abortion Debate

Having trouble keeping track of the facts on health care reform? It’s certainly understandable, given the divisive tactics and rhetoric adopted by anti-choice factions. These groups are attempting to thwart compromise and instead institute a ban on abortion in privately funded plans as well as in any publicly funded options. This is the second in a three-part series that will present the facts and refute false claims made by anti-choice activists. Here is what is really going on in regard to abortion coverage in proposed health care reform measures.

FALSE CLAIM: The new health-care system will expand coverage of abortion beyond its current scope.

FACT: Over 80% of private insurance plans already cover abortion care.

In the new system, consumers could choose a plan that does not offer abortion care if they like, just as they could choose a plan that does or does not offer dental or vision coverage. In a recent town hall meeting, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) elaborated, “If you want to have a health care plan which does not have payment for abortions, you can have that one where you'll not be charged for somebody who has an abortion. Now if you want a different health care plan, an option where you can have payment for abortion and you pay for it, because there'd be a little bigger premium, you have the choice of being in one plan or the other.”

The fact is that current reform proposals would not force anti-choice constituents to buy into a plan that covers abortions. In every coverage area, there must be at least one plan that includes abortion services and one plan that does not. Creating an affordable health insurance plan for Americans is the real issue, and anti-choice groups are attempting to mobilize pro-life and mixed-choice Americans against measures that aim to alleviate the economic stress of high premiums and Medicare programs on the national budget, rather than endorsing any sort of agenda.

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