November 04, 2009

Abortion Provision May Doom Democrats’ Health Care Overhaul

Perhaps the most divisive social issue of our time, abortion is also becoming the central issue in the debate over health care reform. Just as moderate, Blue Dog Democrats vie to oppose any bill containing federal dollars that would go towards funding abortion, strong forces on the left, namely NARAL, a pro-abortion activist group, accuses the Blue Dogs of “spreading lies” and imperiling the right of women to choose.

The proposed Democrat-backed health care legislation would provide for federal subsidies to be used to cover abortions through the much debated public-option provision that is currently included in the House version of the bill. Democrat house leaders have included the provision for federal subsidies in spite of the fact that since 1976, federal subsidies to fund abortion have been banned except in cases of rape or incest.

The rift developing on the left between the more moderates in the party versus their radical counterparts over the abortion issue is likely not to subside and has a real chance of endangering the success of the health care bill altogether. Currently there does not seem to be a compromise that both sides could reasonably live with – the Blue Dogs, politically speaking, cannot afford to include the provision while the NARAL folks will not consider any bill that excludes abortion coverage because for them it is THE social issue of our time and their very existence is dependent upon it.

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