Paying for Abortions

Paying for Abortions

The Associated Press: Health care issues: Paying for abortions

Health care issues: Paying for abortions
By The Associated Press (AP) – Oct 9, 2009

A look at key issues in the health care debate:

THE ISSUE: Would new health care legislation allow abortions to be funded with tax money?

THE POLITICS: Abortion opponents say proposed government-sponsored health insurance plans would change federal policy by paying for abortions in many cases. For years, a restriction in the law that governs Medicaid — health insurance for the poor — has barred federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother's life. The proposed legislation would permit government-sponsored health plans, open to non-Medicaid patients, to cover abortions. In seeking a political compromise, a House version would require publicly sponsored plans to pay for abortions with private funds from customers' premiums, not tax dollars. Critics call the requirement meaningless. They say public and private sources of insurance funding would essentially go into, and come out of, one big pot.

WHAT IT MEANS: Women with private insurance plans that cover abortion might be able to switch to a less-expensive public plan without losing that coverage. Anti-abortion activists would feel they've lost an important battle, as taxpayer funds mingle with some insurance plans that, one way or another, pay for abortions.

_ Charles Babington