President Obama’s healthcare proposal adopts language on abortion from the Senate health reform bill that requires insurers to segregate public and private premiums and use only private money to pay for abortion services. But Representative Bart Stupak will have none of it, claiming that the legislation still allows public funding of the abortion. In fact, the legislation very clearly prohibits direct government funding of abortion. But Stupak also objects to "indirect" funding, refusing to vote for a reform bill unless it prohibits taxpayer money from "subsidizing" health plans that cover abortion care.
The amendment Stupak sponsored, which is currently part of the House bill, does bar so-called indirect funding. It forbids insurers from selling plans that include abortion coverage to any people who receive help from the government in paying their premiums–a restriction that would apply to approximately 85 percent of customers in the new health insurance exchange and thus virtually eliminate abortion coverage from the exchange.
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Director, Women\'s Health & Rights Program