Besides all the other problems that have either been known or come to light about Obamacare that call for reforming this version of reform, (Heritage has been there from the beginning, has the experts and done the work…) two fundamental moral ones loom large. Heard anything about it lately?

Since you’re here, chances are you have. But those poor souls fed only by ‘mainstream media’ aren’t so informed.

Let’s review, starting with the issue of taxpayer funding of abortion that remains embedded in ‘healthcare reform’ in spite of verbal promises and claims to the contrary, by the people who brought us this law. Though virtually none of them read the 2,409 pages of it to know what’s actually in it.

So about abortion and the bill

[U.S. House Minority Leader John] Boehner criticized the Executive Order that President Obama signed to assuage pro-life Democrats that the Hyde amendment would be upheld in the new legislation – but that analysts say only reiterated what was already stated in the bill.

The GOP leader expressed frustration that the Obama Administration had yet to “[lift] a finger to enforce the president’s executive order on abortion,” as reported by The Hill. He said that, when asked about the implementation of the order, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration was “working on it.”

Boehner said that he would call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put legislation codifying Hyde amendment restrictions on abortion funding to an immediate vote.

We’ll keep an eye on that.

Now how does abortion funding fit into the current legislation?

When the health care reform debates were in full swing last November, Boehner decried the “monthly abortion premium” to be demanded of all customers of the government-run plan as dictated by the current version of the bill. Boehner also pointed out, as verified by NRLC analysts, that the bill forced at least one insurance plan offered in each regional insurance exchange to offer abortion and gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to mandate that abortion be considered part of the essential benefits package of a government-run plan.

Later, Boehner excoriated the amended Senate version of the bill for maintaining the “monthly abortion fee,” and posted the NRLC’s detailed breakdown of the bill’s manifold abortion flaws.

Here’s NRLC’s detailed explanation, a rare and explicit analysis for everyone who asks ‘where is abortion in the bill…?’

The other big moral issue is conscience protection, and lack thereof in the law as passed.

Why is the conscience issue so neglected? One possible reason is that conscience violations are less tangible than the destruction of a living human being. Furthermore, the area of conscience protection has many moving parts, which can be hard to monitor. Conscience protection laws can shield both the religious and moral objector or just the former; they might cover many different forms of involvement (providing, referring, etc.) in one or more services (abortion, euthanasia, birth control, etc.); they could cover one or more sets of actors in the healthcare field (individual providers, hospitals, insurance companies, etc.) against discrimination by one or more authorities (government entities, employers, health plans, etc.). There are also various theological and philosophical grounds for different conscience claims…Finally, there is the seemingly insoluble dilemma posed when the demand for legal conscience protection is characterized as a contest between “your right to refuse” and “my right to have.”

The healthcare law known as Obamacare

…contains an extraordinary array of new mandates affecting every player in American healthcare—governments, insurance exchanges and insurance plans, hospitals and clinics, doctors and employers, and every single healthcare consumer. Some new mandates include language (“essential health benefits,” “preventive services”) which regulatory agencies and judges might easily construe to include medical services objectionable to a wide swath of individuals and institutions.

It’s a Pandora’s box, not to be cliche.

Many institutions in need of conscience exemptions provide a level of healthcare characterized by a commitment to treating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. They take quite seriously their professions’ demands in the way of training, judgment and integrity…For these reasons, such institutions should be protected for what they are; our social world would be worse off without them.

For policy wonks, and everyone who sincerely wants resources and answers to respond to critics who claim this bill holds no moral threats (and I get plenty of questions from such good people seeking information)….read Helen Alvare’s article there on Public Discourse thoroughly, check out the links throughout the piece, and the ones linked above. We need to be informed about this, and remedies underway to resolve the moral threats that do exist in this legislation.

Currently, a bill cosponsored by Republican Joseph Pitts and Democrat Dan Lipinski (H.R. 5111) contains a variety of conscience protections which would repair many of [the healthcare law’s] most serious flaws. It merits considerable attention in the public square…

Especially now, with a looming mid-term election that could significantly change the landscape of Washington and its designs on our health and care.

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....