Every chance he gets, Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak is making a reasoned argument for his amendment to ensure health care legislation won’t require citizens to pay for abortion.

House Democratic leaders introduced their health care
plan last week with language, known as the Capps amendment, that would
mandate public funding for abortion.

The Capps amendment is being sold as a compromise that maintains the
status quo on the issue of federal funding for abortion. That is simply
not the case. I have asked for a vote to amend the bill to include the
Hyde amendment, which already prohibits federal funding of abortion in
all other federal health programs, including Medicaid and the Federal
Employees Health Benefits plans.

Thirty years of precedent supports adding the Hyde amendment to this
bill. The ban on federal funding for abortions is a long-standing
policy that has been in place since 1977 and has been upheld by the
U.S. Supreme Court.

The Capps amendment departs from these laws in important and troubling ways.

Why? I mean, why depart from long-standing policy and the supremely
reasonable coverage of the Hyde Amendment? And why do the prevailing
powers in the House want to require taxpayers to fund abortion, against
the will of a majority of Americans?

The Hyde amendment is not about limiting choice when it
comes to abortion. Nothing prevents those who choose to obtain abortion
services using private funds from doing so. It simply says federal
funds should not be used to pay for abortion. This is consistent with
how the Medicaid system operates today, prohibiting the use of federal
funds and state matching funds from paying for abortion, but allowing
states the option of providing supplemental abortion coverage.

The concerns of those of us who want to see Hyde language in the
bill are shared by the 67% of Americans who oppose spending public
money on abortion. And, in his address to Congress, President Obama
told the American people the health care plan would not have public
funding for abortion.

He also told the pope he was committed to reducing the number of abortions. Since he’s so convincing, maybe he can help Rep. Stupak in the House.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....