Friday, February 18, 2011

Completing Health Care Reform

A little good news from  Washington. House bill HR358, making permanent the ban on tax funding of abortion and  protecting the conscience rights of hospitals and health professionals and workers, has been passed by the House  Commerce Committee. The US Catholic Bishops welcomed this progress in an improvement to the health care reform now being implemented.

"The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomed the approval in committee of the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358). Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and 123 co-sponsors, the Protect Life Act would apply longstanding federal policies on abortion funding, and conscience rights on abortion, to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed last March. On February 15, the full House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 358 in a bi-partisan vote (33 to 19), and rejected three amendments that would have weakened the bill."  Click here to read entire press release.
This bill is one of two measures being considered by the House on this issue. It is modelled after the 2010 Stupak-Pitts amendment (to Health Care Reform) that received bipartisan approval by the House but was then defeated in the Senate. Some of the elements of this measure are temporarily in force due to an executive order issued by President Obama last year but most American would prefer a permanent place for this measure in the law. 

There have be almost manic efforts to discredit the bill from the abortion industry and their lobbyists. Since  most Americans have supported this measure it seems these 'talking points' are intended to give the false impression that this is a entirely different bill. Here is a sample and of some of them and some comments.

Claim one: This measure proposes to decriminalize rape.
Facts:    The measure bans the use of Federal Tax dollars to pay for abortions and protects conscience rights of hospitals, heath care professional, and health care workers. It does not decriminalize rape.

Claim two: This measure will insert the Federal Government in every woman's pregnancy.
Facts: This measure would bar the Federal Government from using our taxes for abortions or insurance that pays for abortions and  would bar Government from forcing hospitals, professionals and workers to perform actions that violate their ethical standards (conscience).

Editorial Comment: I seriously doubt that one measure could be libertarianistic (decriminalize rape) and socialistic (have government take over your pregnancy) at the same time. HR 358 has essentially been around for may months and is supported by a majority of Americans and is not characterized by these claims.

Claim three:  This is just a token measure that the Republicans have concocted to satisfy  radical conservatives in their party.
Facts: The supporters of this measure, a majority of Americans, cannot be characterized in this way. We are conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, gays, straights, religious, non religious, men and women. What we have in common is an opposition to our government paying for or forcing individuals or institutions to perform violations of human rights.

Claim four:  This measure outlaws all reproductive health care.
Facts: This measure addresses only the funding of abortion and heath care industry conscience protections. While some claim that abortion is health care there is much more to reproductive health care than ending the life of  the fetus.

Editorial comment: Abortion is a human rights violation currently permitted by our courts. This measure and the earlier Stupak-Pitts amendment do not change this brutal fact.

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