America is having its national nose rubbed in the issue that it never wants to look at for very long. The issue of publicly funding abortion is forcing the injustice and moral contradiction of the question back into the public conscience - and people are already starting to squirm.
So long as abortion was privately funded, it could remain under most people's radar. If people wanted to pay for one - well, that was their business. Tossing a bone to pro-lifers in the form of the Hyde Amendment that prohibited any Health & Human Services (i.e. welfare) funds being used for abortion was pretty safe: abortions for welfare recipients was a bit of a touchy topic anyway (though some states still fund abortions with their own Medicaid funds).
But now the spectre of getting Federal funds involved in health care payment at every level is once again forcing the issue. When flat-out asked, most Americans - even those who have no objection to the procedure - don't want public funds paying for abortion. But public funding for abortions has long been the Holy Grail of radical gender feminists like NOW, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood. After all, as the largest for-profit abortion provider in the nation, PP could make a lot of money billing taxpaying American citizens for killing unborn American citizens. Pro-abortion forces are not going to easily surrender their long-sought goal, but pro-life legislators such as Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska have dug in their heels and refuse to violate their consciences by voting for public funding for abortion.
So the House and Senate face a Mexican standoff. Though the Stupak amendment made it through the House, knowledgeable observers of both sides say that advocates will not back down. Pro-abortion representatives who may have swallowed hard to vote for the health care funding bill with the Stupak amendment are determined to strip out that wording in conference. Pro-life legislators in both houses are determined to keep it in, or add equivalent wording to the Senate version. Without both parties on board, the bill can't pass.
Meanwhile, people are beginning to see through President Obama's smokescreen statements about how Federal law prohibits funding abortions. They're noticing that the Hyde Amendment was just that - an amendment, not a statute, that was tacked onto the HHS budget every year. There's no guarantee that it would continue to be tacked on - in fact, nobody was expecting the Pelosi House to do so. And it only applied to the HHS budget, which would not be the budget funding health care payments. (Of course, nobody knows what budget that would be, or where the money would come from, but that's another post.) And the proposed health funding reforms would reach far further than Medicaid payments. Also, Obama's on record as saying that paying for "reproductive health services" - industry code for abortion - is central to his plans for health care payments.
How this all plays out will be high drama. The longer it drags out, the more the media will be forced to talk about abortion - something they're very skilled at not doing. The more they talk, the more people will think. A man who doesn't want to look at the gross injustice of abortion can look the other way so long as it's "a personal choice". But when he is forced to pay for that "personal choice", he tends to look a bit harder. And perhaps this time he'll notice that abortion slaughters 1.2 million children each year. And maybe, just maybe, he'll ask his legislator to vote against funding that.
And maybe, just maybe, his conscience will move him to do a little bit more.
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3 years ago