Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

House Dems Propose Maintaining 'Status Quo' on Abortion Funding

Updated 10:10 p.m.
By Dan Eggen
A group of centrist House Democrats proposed Tuesday night a compromise aimed at quelling a growing uproar among conservatives over the potential of federal funding for abortions.

Saying they are "increasingly concerned about potential roadblocks around the issue of abortion" in Congress' health-care debate, abortion opponent Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and four other Democrats propose "a common-ground solution" that would neither require nor ban private insurers from covering the procedure as long as federal funds are not used, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was also signed by Reps. Dale Kildee (Mich.), James Langevin (R.I.), Artur Davis (Ala.) and Kendrick Meek (Fla.).

The lawmakers say that their proposal "maintains the current status quo in the private market" and would not "preempt constitutionally permissible state laws" governing notification requirements and other restrictions on obtaining an abortion.

"Now it is imperative that we reach some consensus on the issue of abortion in health care reform, so that we can move this critical legislation forward," the lawmakers wrote.

The proposal underscores increasing concern among some conservative Democrats over the abortion issue, which has been seized upon by Republicans as part of their broader attempts to kill Democratic health-care bills. Abortion opponents allege that proposed reforms to the nation's health-care system could lead to at least indirect federal funding of abortions through private carriers who participate in proposed insurance exchanges.

Current law prohibits federal funding of abortions under Medicaid except under extraordinary circumstances, such as to save the life of the mother. The five Democrats say similar restrictions should apply to federal subsidies of health insurance.

Two of the signatories, Davis and Meek, have both declared their candidacy for statewide office in their conservative-trending states in 2010. Davis is running for Alabama governor, and Meek is running for the U.S. Senate. Ryan was rumored this spring to be a candidate for Ohio's lieutenant governorship in 2010, but he quashed that speculation in April

By Post Editor  |  July 21, 2009; 8:52 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sen. Byrd Back on the Senate Floor
Next: Today on the Hill


Don't agree with the death penalty but my tax dollars pay for it. Don't agree with the war in Iraq but my tax dollars pay for it. Unfortunately, can't pick and choose what my tax dollars pay for. Abortion is a legal medical procedure and if there is going to be a state run medical coverage, then tax dollars are going to pay for it. And FYI, if you have private insurance, I am sure that some of your payments have gone to somebodys' abortion.

Posted by: qwerqwer1 | July 21, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree, abortion is legal so there is no reason to mention it at all in the legislation just like they don't mention colds or sinus infections.

I am against Abortion but I believe we need congress to pass legislation to make it illegal. If it is made illegal then it can't be covered by any medical plan.

The Republican's had 6 years to put something through and they did nothing. I think they use anti abortion as a campaign platform because they sure didn't make any progress when they were in control.

I don't know why people want Roe v Wade overturned, that is having an activist court which is what they just accused Sotomayor of being. What we need is for congress to introduce and pass a bill.

Posted by: soapm | July 21, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

This is not an issue to get health care hung up on. There should be assurance that federal funds are not used to fund abortions and move on from there.

Posted by: dwolf2 | July 22, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I am against abortion. The government has no right killing innocent babies. God will judge everyone involved either directly or indirectly (voting someone in office who believes in abortion).

Posted by: wjhendricks | July 22, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Abortion is kill an innocent human-person.
Nobody can equate Capital punishment nor war with taking an "innocent life".
The Soldier that enlists for service is not a defenseless person. Besides, as a citizen it is required ,by the United States Constitution, to pay taxes to defend American's "sovereignty" and keep its' citizens safe.
The murderer "deserves" a punishment and must pay for his crime.
Abotion is "Bad Law", it is against the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Untied States Constitution. Life, Liberty, Happiness
"Life" comes first.
No American Taxpayer should be forced to pay tax dollars to kill a helpless and defenseless human being.
To equate Abortion with any other issue is absolutely absurd!
Without "Life" no other issue matters.

Posted by: Logic3 | July 22, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

why do we kill our own while we import slave labor from india...
and they keep saying there are not enough workers...
I smell a plan...
was that lady supreme court justice right...
do we use abortion to control the birth of undesireables...
and how did every type of American fall on that list...
except liberal...

Posted by: DwightCollins | July 22, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

why do we kill our own while we import slave labor from india...
and they keep saying there are not enough workers...
I smell a plan...
was that lady supreme court justice right...
do we use abortion to control the birth of undesireables...
and how did every type of American fall on that list...
except liberal...

Posted by: DwightCollins | July 22, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

As a physician, I believe that the laws supporting abortion as a medical option are thoroughly justified when applied to protect a woman's health. It is appalling that some patients and physicians apply these laws in ways I find immoral and medically unethical, but to paraphrase a popular bon mot 'don't throw the MOTHER out with the bathwater'. Mark Gary Blumenthal, MD, MPH

Posted by: markomd | July 22, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

It is becoming increasingly evident that Obama only wants to be in office for one term -- given all of this actions during his first six months in office. Equally, I really don't think he cares how many democrats he takes down with him in 2010 or 2012,


He is leaving a mess with TARP; the Stimulus Package (with no stimulus); the bailouts of BIG FINANCE and auto industries (LOOK WHERE THE JOBS WENT!!); and now he wants to nationalize health care and energy!!


According to leaks of how Obama would pay for his ObamaCare, $400 Billion would be on the backs of seniors through cuts to MEDICARE.

Something really seems to be totally intellectually dishonest about this.
Years ago, seniors abandoned their own health policies and were forced into MEDICARE. Their futures were totally based on this health care system. Now, the government over promised and CANNOT DELIVER!!

A number of questions:
*What will this do financially to family members who feel obligated to sustain their elders?
*Is this a backdoor attempt to reduce outyear social security payments to the elderly to ration health care for this population?
*How many illegal aliens are included in the current bill(s), and precisely, how many tax dollars go for their coverage?
*What is the estimated number of medical doctors who will leave medical practice due to ObamaCare, due to their not being able to abide by their oath (FIRST, DO NO HARM)??
*…AND A BIGGIE!! Why does Obama dismiss TORT reform out of hand? When you talk to physicians who deliver the care, their big concern of their own futures center around the mal practice insurance they have to pay for frivolous law suits!!


WOW! This Obama Team is SNEAKY!!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 22, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Everyone of those pantie-waist bluedog democrats should be voted out of office next year. A bunch of greedy, selfish wussies...

Posted by: demtse | July 22, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Change is hard, especially when it is being pushed by a black president in the 21st century. Change is hard when people have become comfortable with the status quo. Change is hard when people refuse to challenge themselves to overcome complacency. Change is hard when our congressional leaders put their own selfish interests ahead of their constiuents. They are afraid to challenge the mega pharmaceutical, insurance, and HMOs corporations, for fear of loosing precious campaign contributions that will keep them in their jobs. Most of these politicians, both democrat and republican, are wealthier than their average constiuent, and want to remain so, by helping these corporation maintain their stranglehold and monopolize the healthcare debate. The average American, given the unvarnished truth, want the healthcare system fixed, to their advantage. Not to the advantage of the major pharmaceutical and insurance companies. The PEOPLE OF AMERICA, must rise up and let their voices be heard over the den of the lobbyists, who want to maintain their largess for their corporate benefactors.

Posted by: demtse | July 22, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Whenever the issue of health care comes up, Republicans, the religious right and left find some way to throw abortion into it just to create controversy. Well, whether you personally agree with abortion or not, the Supreme court has ruled it a legal right and thereby validating the procedure itself, unless Sotomayor changes that. So Congress has no right to suddenly cast religion onto something that is purely definitive. If taxation were truly left up to the individual populace there would be a lot of groups and programs left underfunded and disenfranchised (i.e poor people). So get over it and make an unbaised decision for once that takes into account the total populace.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | July 22, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Determining the coverage of abortion or any other procedure is very much the responsibility of Congress, as the government aims to extend health care coverage. Any administrator of health care coverage dictates what medical procedures are covered. In many medical plans, cosmetic surgery is legal but not covered. To call abortion a medical procedure is not quite appropriate. In fact, defining it as a medical procedure is offensive to those that acknowledge and respect the life of the conceived fetus.
Sad that Planned Parenthood has convinced so many that viable life are little more than an unattractive nose and has strong-armed the moderate viewpoint out of the party.

Posted by: cprferry | July 22, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: wjhendricks

I am against abortion. The government has no right killing innocent babies. God will judge everyone involved either directly or indirectly (voting someone in office who believes in abortion).


You exemplify why the anti-abortion argument has no moral foundation. "I" am against abortion. And because YOU are against it, you've decided that God will judge everyone involved.

So will he judge you for not standing up against the Death Penalty, or the Iraq War?

"Thou Shalt Not Kill". There are no caveats to that you might notice. Jesus never killed anyone either by the way, the unborn or born.

This is exactly why the Republican party has begun to fade. Morally you're untrue to your values.

Posted by: magicInMiami | July 22, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Logic3 | July 22, 2009 2:07 AM

Nobody can equate Capital punishment nor war with taking an "innocent life".


Oooo, wait! I can!

Capital Punishment:
There have been many innocent people convicted, sentenced and executed in this country and many others that committed no crime. Happens daily in North Korea, so I'm sure there are many North Koreans living in prison camps that would differ with you.

According to somewhere between 92,519 - 101,006 non-combatant Iraqis have been killed. Let's just say there may be a couple of folks in there that were just sleeping in their bed when a bomb blast killed them. Unless they had impure thoughts, I would assume them to be innocent.

Posted by: Independent_Thinker | July 22, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I read an article recently on NRO where two "scientists" and a lawyer "proved" that live embryos were human beings. Their scientific proof included no indisputable scientific facts and even some made-up scientific standards -- but it was proof to them. It didn't prove anythimg to me except to confirm my already held belief that conservatives, basically, have no qualms about making things up to sustain their corrupt theories of life. Abortion, the death penalty, stem-cell research, and an inherited disease of a person who was born alive up to 90 years ago; are too important to reside in the hands of any unthinking conservative.

Posted by: ghp60 | July 22, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Like others have said, we pay for many things with our tax dollars that we do not agree with. Too many legislators treat us as if we are ignorant about their politics. Conservatives need to get a life that allows them to be contributing members of society after they lose an election. This business of catering to their whims is stupid. As they say, "Elections have consequences." We will live with the consequences of 2000 and 2004 for mnay years. Now, it is our turn.

The lady in hysteics and near panic that was screaming about Obama's birth certificate is a nut. Unfortunately, the Republican machine is producing way too many of these nuts.

Posted by: EarlC | July 22, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I do not support abortion and do not believe it should be paid for with government funds unless the life of the mother is at risk. I could be supportive of the anti-abortion groups if they were not such nut cases who want to dictate Tabliban like terms for women facing difficult decisions. I am opposed to making abortion illegal just opposed to having taxpayers pay for it. Encouraging alternatives to abortion and helping mothers who decide to go forward with the birth of a child is something I support. As to those who are threatening the wrath of God for those who have an abortion, who do you think you are? I think a careful review of the Ten Commandments will demonsrate that you are using the Lord's name in vain. Shame on you!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | July 22, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey, MajicMiami, where did Hendricks say he/she supported the death penalty or were Republican?

Maybe he's a Catholic, like Pelosi, five SCOTUS judges, and 65 million Americas who have freedom of speech and religion. That you obviously hate.

Posted by: mmmmm999999m34e56ee91099 | July 22, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Inaction has been our option on health care for much too long. Decent health care should be an attainable "right" for all americans.

If you truly believe that the patient and doctor should make the ultimate decisions concerning an individual's health, let us then concentrate on making this a reality rather than another year of scapegoating. If and when this child becomes a living thing (person), they really will need adequate health care.

For those of us who claim to be patriotic american, I only ask "Do you have any trust in our government that they (we) will do the right thing especially with our guidance?" I can only answer this question for myself as it relates to my patriotism.

I believe that we should have some degree of trust for our government else the United States Constitution is nothing but mere words.

Posted by: ronhamp | July 22, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Re: Nobody can equate Capital punishment nor war with taking an "innocent life". Logic 3 post.

How about all the civilians who are killed in war? Are they not innocent?

Posted by: janye1 | July 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The government should not be giving out free abortions. I see abortions as murder and I believe that we should stop abortions.

Posted by: almek11 | July 23, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company