Repealing Taxpayers’ Conscience Protections on Abortion

Chuck Donovan /

The Senate’s 54-45 vote last evening to table the Hatch-Nelson abortion funding limitation sets the two chambers of Congress on a collision course with one another – with Democrats driving both vehicles involved in the collision. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) led the way in devising and debating his bipartisan amendment, which would have extended the long-timeĀ  Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) abortion funding policy and applied it to the insurance plans that will be subsidized under the bill.

Conscience protections become yet another banner of liberty trampled by the health care reform stampede, even as its sponsors seek to assure Americans that the overhaul is an expansion of freedom.

The nearly two dozen abortion funding prohibitions in current federal law reflect two basic principles: 1) that, except in situations involving the life of the mother, rape and incest, the federal government will not pay for or reimburse for abortions under federal programs like Medicaid; and 2) that, with the same exceptions listed above, the federal government will not subsidize insurance plans that offer coverage for abortion, which includes what the federal FEHB web site rightly calls “the widest selection of health plans in the country,” the FEHB system. This is the status quo that Hatch-Nelson would preserve and that the U.S. Senate yesterday voted to change. (more…)