Conservatives Wonder: Will Obama Fund Abortion?

Conservatives skeptical of Obama's "common ground" rhetoric ask whether he'll fund abortions.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

While the Obama administration readies its "common ground" plan on reproductive issues, abortion rights opponents continue to allege that Obama's end-the-culture-wars rhetoric is hooey. Their evidence: The administration has left the door open to government-funded abortion.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser makes the case in today's Weekly Standard (my caveats follow):

. . . [T]he Obama agenda is to weave government-backed abortion into the fabric of American life and make it a far more integral part of domestic and foreign policy than ever before.

Exhibit A is the emerging Democratic plan for health reform. At this writing, the draft House bill is the best indicator of where the administration and congressional Democrats are heading. Agreed on by three powerful committee chairmen, Henry Waxman (energy and commerce), George Miller (education and labor), and Charles Rangel (ways and means), the House bill outlines a minimum-benefits package that will be universal—that is, required of every American's insurance plan, whether provided by a private firm or by the government. It lists, among others, two categories: "out-patient hospital services" and "out-patient clinic services."

What services are included under these categories? Is abortion covered? If the drafters of the Democratic bill have their way, this will never be specified in the bill itself. It will be decided by a "Health Benefits Advisory Committee," whose membership will be determined by President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services who is remembered by Kansas pro-lifers for her gubernatorial vetoes of restrictions on late-term abortions.

Clearly, if Obama's preferred health reform becomes law, abortion will be defined as a "health benefit" automatically provided to every American family. . . .

The same relentless agenda recently surfaced locally, as it were, when the president endorsed the repeal of the Dornan amendment. If Obama gets his way on this, the left-liberal District of Columbia government will be free to spend government money on abortions for the first time since 1995. This is apparently what the president has decided our nation's capital needs, given its steadily declining population, low rate of family formation, and recorded legal abortions already nearly equal to the number of its live births.

In reality, it's far from clear whether Obama wants his healthcare plan to cover abortion or whether it will wind up doing so—if it's implemented at all. The D.C. abortion funding issue, meanwhile, is complex; other states are free to spend their own money to finance abortions for low-income women.

Which is to say, I'm not so sure that Obama's actions in these areas nullify his pledge to reduce demand for abortion and work for common ground on the issue.