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Health care bill and abortion

Adam Newman | Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I am writing in response to Mr. Mullen’s letter to The Observer (“Gingrich is not Obama,” Sept. 20). In the letter, he claims that the healthcare reform bill provides government funding for abortion. I am writing to inform him that his claim is factually inaccurate.

Currently, the law of the land concerning the public funding of abortion is contained in the Hyde amendment. This amendment states that federal money cannot be used for abortions. The only exceptions are “in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.” This has been the status quo since 1977. If this is what Mr. Mullen is suggesting, then yes, there are some cases of federal dollars being used for abortion. However, I think that Mr. Mullen refers to how the health care bill would change the status quo.

One major aspect of the bill is the creation of health insurance exchanges run by the states. A health insurance exchange is a place where small businesses and individuals who want health insurance can be grouped together by their state to get affordable health care. In each exchange, there will be multiple health care plans. Some of these plans could cover abortions, but there must be at least one plan that does not cover abortions. So if someone who is pro-life wants to enter an exchange, they will have the option to not pay premiums to an insurance company that covers abortion. Now, let’s say that someone is in the exchange, is receiving a federal subsidy, and wants to get an abortion. Federal money will not be used as mandated by law. The insurance company will have to calculate the cost of the abortion, and separate it from the rest of that person’s health care costs, so that the person’s abortion does not have any federal aid.

This also goes without mentioning that President Obama recently signed an executive order to give extra assurance of the protection to the Hyde amendment under the health care bill.

To conclude: Mr. Mullen, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Adam Newman


Stanford Hall

Sept. 20