Rep. Franks Falsely Claimed Health Insurance Reform Will Expand Abortion

August 10, 2009 1:17 pm ET

On Sunday August 9, 2009, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) stated that the passage of a Democratic insurance reform bill would be the "largest expansion of abortion in the United States since Roe v. Wade."  Unfortunately for Rep. Franks, many independent organizations have explicitly proven otherwise.

Rep. Franks Claimed Health Insurance Reform Will Expand Abortion...

Rep. Franks: "...one of the side issues that nobody pays any attention to, this health care plan will be the largest expansion of abortion in the United States since Roe vs. Wade only this time it'll be paid for by taxpayer dollars and people don't...see that as health care." [Fox News, 8/9/09]

...When In Fact, It Does Nothing Of The Sort

Laws Exist That Prohibit Use Of Federal Funds To Pay For Abortion.  According to FactCheck.org, "it's not merely 'tradition' that keeps taxpayer-funded health care from paying for abortions. It's the law, starting with the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public funding of abortions through the Medicaid program except in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment." [FactCheck.org, 8/3/09]

The House Passed An Abortion Compromise With Specific Provisions Regarding The Use Of Taxpayer Dollars.  According to the nonpartisan PolitiFact.com: "A compromise plan offered by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee, seeks to alleviate many of the concerns expressed by abortion opponents - particularly the issue of tax dollars being used to subsidize abortions - while specifically making abortion coverage available in both the public plan, as well as in private plans participating in the exchange. Under the Capps amendment:

  • Abortion coverage would not be part of the required minimum benefits package. In other words, insurers would not be required to offer, or be prohibited from offering, abortion services in order to participate in the exchange.
  • The public plan could include abortion coverage, but the cost of the additional coverage could not be paid through public subsidies (tax dollars), only through the premiums paid by the insured. And with private plans in the exchange, again, federal subsidies could not be used for abortion coverage.
  • Public funding would only be permitted for abortions allowed under the Hyde Act - in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.
  • At least one plan in every region must offer full abortion coverage; and one must not.
  • Any insurance plan participating in the exchange cannot discriminate against hospitals or other health care facilities (such as Catholic hospitals) that are unwilling to provide abortions.
  • The plan will not pre-empt any state laws regarding abortion, such as parental notification laws." [PolitiFact.com, 8/7/09]

Catholic Group Applauded Inclusion Of The Capps Amendment.  The executive director of the anti-abortion group Catholics United said in a press release: "The inclusion of the Capps Amendment represents a positive step toward health care reform that preserves existing policies prohibiting federal funding for abortion services and ensuring conscience protections for health care providers...While some questions do remain, we are confident that health care reform legislation, when finalized, will represent a workable common ground solution that can find broad support from across the spectrum of the abortion debate." [Catholics-United.org, accessed 8/10/09]

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