Last week the House passed with bipartisan support the Protect Life Act, which amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to assure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortion. It also assures that health-care providers that do not wish to provide abortions are not forced to by government.
The bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., had co-sponsored essentially the same amendment along with then-Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., when Obamacare was in the making in 2009.
Because a similar provision was not in the Senate version of the bill, and had no prospect of making it through the Senate, Stupak stood as a major obstacle to the passage of Obamacare.
In the end, the ways of Washington prevailed, and Stupak caved to pressure from the White House. He agreed to support the health-care bill without his anti-abortion provision, in exchange for President Obama issuing an executive order prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions in health care provided in the framework of Obamacare.
An executive order is a flimsy substitute for law; thus Rep. Pitt found another pro-life Democrat, Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., to co-sponsor his amendment, which has now passed the House 251-172.
However, Pitt’s new bill faces the same prospects as the amendment that he cosponsored with Stupak in 2009. Its chances of passage in the Senate are remote.
So why bother?
After the bill passed, I was asked on a PBS talk show, “To the Contrary,” if Republicans were being frivolous in taking up congressional floor time to deal with abortion when what Americans want today is congressional action on the economy.
My response was “no, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and actually in light of Obamacare, it is critical for lawmakers to protect health-care workers and hospitals with a conscience clause.”
In fact, the attention the bill has gotten in the short time since it passed the House indicates that the level of interest in abortion, and the potential use of taxpayer funds for it, remains high.
Two high-post Democrats – former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Democratic National Committee chairwoman – issued statements criticizing the bill shortly after it passed.
According to Pelosi, the provision assuring that health-care providers, including hospitals, are not forced to provide abortions, even though they receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, means “that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene.”
Wasserman Schultz said, “This extreme legislation is dangerous for women’s health and does nothing to address the jobs crisis facing American families.”
Liberals love to frame the killing of developing humans as being about women’s lives, health and rights.
But, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 3 percent of abortions are performed for reasons of a woman’s health. Abortions that are performed because a woman’s life is in danger amount to a fraction of 1 percent. That leaves more that 96 percent for convenience with some 50 percent repeat customers.
Regarding abortion, the liberal agenda is really about two things – 1) an alleged right to sexual promiscuity and, 2) an alleged right to have others bear social and financial responsibility for that promiscuity.
Fortunately, a sizable part of the American population doesn’t see things this way. And, fortunately, a sizable part of our population remains in awe of the miracle of life and our responsibilities toward all aspects of life, both in and outside of the womb.
It doesn’t take that much thought to realize the fallacious thinking that suggests that matters of economy and matters of morality have nothing to do with each other.
The “right to abortion” culture is simply a subset of the entitlement culture, the culture that says your life is about making claims on others rather than personal responsibility.
Disrespect for life and disrespect for property go hand in hand. We can’t divorce our sexual promiscuity from our fiscal promiscuity. Restoring personal responsibility in both areas is what we need today to get our nation back on track.
Star Parker is president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and author of the recently re-released “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.”