How Should Abortion Be Dealt with in Health Care Reform? There Must Be a Permanent Prohibition on Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, a Provision to Allow a Right of Conscience for Doctors and Nurses and Other Health Care Providers to Refuse to Perform Actions They Oppose, and There Can Be No System of Denial or Delay or Rationing of Care

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While liberal Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to pass President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's health care system, few are talking about this essential issue: Will health care reform force taxpayers to pay for abortions for the first time in 30 years?

The short answer is yes, because there is no explicit provision in the bill to:

* Prevent taxpayer funding of abortions as part of the health care benefit Congress is considering. It is ironic that taxpayer-funded abortions would be considered a health care benefit since the baby gets no health care benefit from abortion.

* Prevent delays in health care services that result in the death of the patient waiting for the care, usually the old, infirm and the very sick. In the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week, an amendment to prevent the denial, delay or rationing of health care was defeated. Every Democratic senator on the committee voted not to prevent rationing.

* Allow health care providers, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to refuse to participate in any health care-related action that violates their conscience, be it an abortion or turning off a ventilator, denying or delaying care that will likely result in the death of a patient, or refusing to dispense an abortion-producing drug.

The entire political and legislative strategy of the health care reform bills being considered by Congress is to be simultaneously vague and to also empower the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to be the decider about almost everything.

The House health reform plan covers family planning, the well-worn buzz word that includes abortion unless specified to the contrary, and given the Democratic Party's commitment to abortion, it would be naive to assume, unless there is an explicit prohibition in the bill, that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not use her discretion to fund abortions with taxpayers' money.

The fact that the word abortion does not appear in the legislative language makes this bill even more dangerous, since an unelected government bureaucrat will be defining what is or is not family planning. Watching Mr. Obama's pro-abortion decisions thus far, it is not difficult to see a future, should this health care bill pass, where the unborn child enjoys not a shred of protection. …